A day after a West Harrison youth soccer coach for the Red Bulls had his throat slit on a Manhattan sidewalk, New York City police were on a manhunt for his attacker.
Michael Jones, 25, was fatally slashed in the neck and torso at 4:30 a.m. Sunday on 14th Street near Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, police said. His severed ear was found in a pool of blood on the sidewalk, according to published reports.
Investigators believe Jones knew his assailant because his cellphone and wallet were found at the scene of the attack. Police video surveillance shows a man, about 25-30 years old, with a ponytail walking with Jones on the street when the two got into a fight and the attack occurred.
Jones was in Manhattan with his girlfriend visiting a friend in the West Village until about midnight Saturday, when they went their separate ways, according to published reports.
The New York Post reported early Monday evening that police were questioning "a person of interest" in the case. However, an NYPD spokeswoman discounted that report, saying no one was being questioned in Jones' killing.
Meanwhile, on the sidewalk where Jones' body was found, a bouquet of roses was left there in remembrance of him.
Neighbors in Jones' West Harrison neighborhood were stunned at the news of his death.
"It's sad," Michael Zaracho, who lived across the street from Jones, told News12. "There's nothing else you can say. It's really sad."
Zaracho said he would wave to his neighbor as he saw him carrying his soccer equipment to and from practice.
The Red Bulls released a statement mourning the loss of the Liverpool, England, native who coached their youth program.
"We are aware of this tragedy, and on behalf of the entire organization, want to send our most heartfelt condolences to Michael's family, friends and loved ones," the statement said. "He was a tremendous individual, a fantastic coach who loved soccer and a terrific friend for many of us."
The team said it would help police in their probe of the killing.
"This is truly a sad day for our soccer community," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael's family at this time."
The NYPD on Monday would not comment further about the case.