Suffolk County police arrested a Huntington man Saturday in the stabbing death of his stepfather, a popular letter carrier described by neighbors as a husband and father who relished his role in the community.
Neighbors were stunned to learn of the death of Noel Mohammed, 44, who police said was stabbed by his stepson, Matthew Hubrins, 28, about 1:30 a.m. in a bedroom of the home they shared on Spring Road.
Hubrins was charged with second-degree murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in First District Court in Central Islip.
Suffolk homicide commander Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said at the scene that Mohammed was stabbed once in the chest.
Kevin Garvey, 27, a family friend and neighbor, said Hubrins and his stepfather constantly fought.
Mohammed was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital a short time after police arrived at the two-story gray home, which has an American flag out front and where Mohammed lived on the ground floor. Brian Vega, who lives in the upstairs apartment, said Mohammed lived with his wife, daughter and stepson.
Det. Sgt. James McGuinness said police arrested Hubrins in Babylon yesterday afternoon after "following up leads," but he declined to be more specific.
Police flew helicopters over the community about 2 a.m. Neighbors said police dogs were also used. Police cordoned off Spring Road, between Gaines Street and Pearsall Place, for much of the day.
Neighbors teared up at the news of Mohammed's death.
They said his mail delivery route included his street and that he was a friendly man who was a familiar sight. "He was always smiling and he'd give you a wave," said Al Hayner, 66, who lives three houses away.
Steve DiGirolamo, a delivery supervisor at the Huntington Post Office, said Mohammed had worked there since 1994. "He was a wonderful man," he said.
Barbara Kalenderian, 55, a former post office colleague who lives nearby, sobbed outside her home. "He was beautiful inside and out," she said. "He was a very happy, God-fearing man. I don't think he had an enemy in the world."
Tim Grill, 32, who lives next door, was also shaken. "I still can't believe it," he said. "He was a great man, always smiling. He was always honking his horn [of his mail truck] at you and waving. The neighborhood is never going to be the same."
Neighbor Sam Stewart, 24, said he'd known Mohammed since Stewart was a boy. "He was the nicest guy. He went above and beyond for his job. He wouldn't just throw [mail] on to your driveway . . . he'd go running over and hand it you and say 'Hi.' He knew everybody in the neighborhood. He was always running. He was like an Olympic sprinter . . . No one's going to be able to fill his shoes."
With Nicholas Spangler
and Kevin Deutsch