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1 dead, 1 arrested in East Village group home fight

An early-morning dispute Saturday between two men in wheelchairs at a group home in the East Village ended with one fatally stabbed and the other in police custody, authorities said.

Ronal Garcia, 24, who had more than a dozen stab wounds, was pronounced dead on arrival at Beth Israel Medical Center shortly after 4:20 a.m., police said.

Officers first responded at 3:30 a.m. to a call about a dispute at the Freedom House on East Second Street, but neither the victim nor the suspect wanted to press charges against the other and the officers left, police said.

Police returned to the home at 4:20 a.m. after a 911 call reporting that Garcia had been stabbed, police said.

Charges were pending against Felipe Cruz, 51, who lived in the home, police said Saturday night. A folding knife was recovered.

The nonprofit Barrier Free Living, which runs the home, describes it on its Web site as a 44-apartment residence serving disabled people and their families who are fleeing domestic abuse.

The stabbing was one of three unrelated killings in the city since Friday night.

In Hamilton Heights in Manhattan, a 28-year-old man died from a gunshot wound in the neck. Police found the victim at about 11:25 p.m. Friday night.

In the Hollis neighborhood of Queens, police responded to a 911 call at 4:45 a.m. Saturday and found a 22-year-old man who had been stabbed in the chest. He was pronounced dead at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.

Police had not released the names of those two victims.

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