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Police: Suspect arrested in fatal stabbing near Babylon ballfields

James Moran, 20, of Amityville, left, was fatally

James Moran, 20, of Amityville, left, was fatally stabbed by Michael Grusel, 28, of Babylon, police said. Photo Credit: Moran family, SCPD

An off-duty cop and other bystanders chased down a fleeing suspect after a fatal stabbing Saturday near a Little League field in Babylon, authorities and witnesses said.

Michael Grusel, 28, of Babylon, was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter, Suffolk police said.

The victim, James Moran, 20, of Amityville, was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he died a short time later, police said.

Officers responded to an emergency call about a stabbing at 12:15 p.m. The incident occurred on Locust Avenue near North Carll Avenue, police said.

Damian Wojslaw, 22, of West Babylon, said he was driving past baseball fields on Locust Avenue when he heard someone yell, "Drop the knife!"

Wojslaw said he then saw a man running, chased by a group of people.

"They held him down . . . and then cops came from every direction," he said.

Police said one of the bystanders who grabbed the suspect was off-duty Suffolk Officer Fred Bothe, who was dropping off his children at the nearest ballfield.

Suffolk homicide Det. Kevin Beyrer said a baseball coach who witnessed the attack alerted Bothe.

Moran was stabbed once in the torso during a fight in the middle of Locust Avenue; Grusel wasn't injured, police said.

Detectives are looking into any links between Moran and Grusel. The fight isn't believed to be gang-related, Beyrer said.

The attack caused the Babylon Little League to postpone baseball games in the area as a precaution.

Moran doted on his 2-year-old daughter, Kaylani, said his girlfriend, Kenesha Burnette, 23, of Bay Shore.

"A lot of people loved and cared for him," she said Saturday night. "A lot of people are still shocked."

Burnette, who described Moran as smart and "friends with everybody," said he grew up in Babylon and was currently unemployed, but "trying to get his life together."

Grusel is scheduled to be arraigned today in First District Court in Central Islip.

With Gary Dymski

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