A beloved 81-year-old Staten Island man butchered by an unhinged neighbor was remembered Saturday as the “grandfather” of the block as residents tried to wrap their minds around the bloody melee that ended his life.
“It’s heartbreaking. The guy never harmed a fly,” one resident of Sunnyside Terrace said of Frank Pompilii, who was stabbed to death by a longtime neighbor during a bloody clash Friday night. “Frank was friends with everybody.”
It’s believed Pompilii was trying to break up a fight between three other neighbors — identified by residents as Redzep (Richie) Cobaj, 78, his son Skender Cobaj, 51, and Ramazan Ramusevic, 57 — when Ramusevic began stabbing the two older men, block residents said.
Cops responding to the scene found the elder Cobaj outside, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Entering the home, they found Ramusevic, a bloody knife still in his hand.
The officers tased and disarmed Ramusevic before taking him into custody. During his arrest, he admitted to stabbing another man. Pompilii was found stabbed in the neck and body a short distance away.
He died at the scene.
Skender Cobaj was also at the home, suffering from a cut to his hand he received defending his father, cops and neighbors said.
Redzep Cobaj remained hospitalized in critical condition.
“He was with a cane, he was almost 80 years old,” the resident, who wished not to be named, said of Cobaj. “If he got stabbed it’s going to be hard for him to survive.”
On Saturday, a line of mourners was seen going in and out of Pompilii’s home, where he and his wife of 56 years raised two children and six grandchildren.
“It’s our grandpa,” one mourner said to reporters in hushed tones outside Pompilii’s home as a bird feeder swayed in the rain outside.
Pompilii was an “old school Italian guy” everyone on Sunnyside Terrace loved, resident Ron Romano said.
“(He) was kind of the nicest neighbor on the block,” Romano said. “He would clean up the street. He was a wonderful person.”
Ramusevic has a history of mental health problems. He was hospitalized at Richmond University Medical Center in March for a psychiatric issue and sued the hospital in June for medical records after he injured himself during an unsuccessful escape from the hospital, according to court documents.
The alleged stabber once owned a pizzeria nearby but was always standoffish to neighbors, residents said.
In fact, the only people he seemed to get along with was Pompilii and Redzep Cobaj, neighbors said.
“They were always talking to each other, these three,” the neighbor said. “They were always hanging out and talking, they knew each other very well.”
Police on Saturday were still trying to determine what sparked the bloody carnage.
“Even the detectives were like ‘We have no idea, we literally don’t know why he did it,’” said one neighbor, who would only identify herself as Christina. “I heard (Pompilii) was going to visit his neighbor, and they were attacked by the other neighbor.”
Charges against Ramusevic were pending Saturday.
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