The two wounded men made it out of the front door of the building and collapsed. Paramedics arrived, and brought them to the hospital. Doctors did their best, but Guerrero died about an hour after the deadly assault, and Grey was listed in critical condition, but survived. Both the Rosados have been charged in the killing, but the third alleged assailant remains at large.

"I saw the video of my brother standing there, hands wide open, and you see Tru Life coming to him," says Ramirez. "My brother didn't have a weapon. These guys knew exactly what they were doing. My brother made it out the front door, and collapsed literally on the steps."

("He has pleaded not guilty," says Rosado's lawyer, Alan Abramson. "We're confident that Robert will be vindicated in court.")

The stabbing quickly entered ghetto lore. Rapper 50 Cent references the killing in a track called "Flight 187": "Today I read the paper and it said Tru Life caught a case/They said they found the victim with a knife stuck in his face." (187 is police code for murder.)

"I don't understand that," says Ramirez. "He's glorifying it. He's a fucking rapper."

(50 Cent's manager, Laurie Dobbins, didn't respond to an e-mail. A spokesman for the rapper's record label declined to comment.)

Meanwhile, Saigon recorded a song called "Free Tru Life" in which he claims that his friend is an "innocent man in the pen." "He ain't do it, my nigga innocent," Saigon declares.

Guerrero received his own tribute from local rappers Manhattan Mal and E-Man who say the following on their CD I See Dead People: "Rest in peace ATL and all our fallen soldiers." The CD also contains the slogan, "We are not a gang, we are a state of mind." A rap video posted on the Internet ends with an image of Guerrero with angel's wings.

Ramirez has spent the months since his brother's death trying to piece together what happened—that terrifying chase from Bellevue to the Phipps Houses, the confrontation in the lobby, the stabbing and its aftermath. He insists that his brother was not a gang member and was only a passing acquaintance of Grey's.

"My brother wasn't directly involved," Ramirez says. "He wouldn't put himself in jeopardy like that. He never carried weapons. He was just out to have fun with the big kids."

Ramirez questions how Guerrero got into Club Pacha, even though he wasn't old enough. And he wonders why paramedics took the wounded members of the rival groups to the same hospital, setting up a likely confrontation there.

"That makes no sense to me," he says. "I don't understand why they did that."

Ramirez says hospital security did move to keep the two groups of rivals apart, and held one group while the other left. But there was no follow-up once the young men exited the hospital. "There was a confrontation in the hospital lobby, and security told them they had to leave, but I don't understand why security didn't call the cops," he says.

Ramirez says he's considering suing Bellevue and Phipps Houses for what he perceives as breakdowns that contributed to Guerrero's murder.

But the Guerrero murder was only one of several violent incidents this year tied to the housing project cliques.

On August 16, Carlos Santos, a resident of the Campos Houses, was shot in the chest at 12th Street and Avenue C. He survived the shooting, but faces a long-term recovery. He was recently moved from Bellevue Hospital to a rehabilitation facility on Staten Island. No one has been arrested in connection with the shooting.

On September 12, Borough of Manhattan Community College student Glen Wright, 21, was jumped from behind by a gang member at the Baruch Houses and stabbed in the neck. He had been helping his grandmother with her weekend chores, published reports said. His assailant, Joel Herrera, 20, was soon arrested; several other gang members were present for the attack. The police believe Wright was targeted because Herrera thought the student was a rival gang member who had previously beaten up one of his friends. In essence, it was a botched revenge killing. Wright's relatives, friends, and teachers mourned the loss of a young man who devoted himself to his Down syndrome–afflicted brother, and who tutored students at an East Harlem tutorial program. Three hundred people attended his wake.

On November 18, 17-year-old Nelson "Punchy" Pena was stabbed to death outside Intermediate School 131 at 100 Hester Street, which does triple duty as a high school and Beacon after-school program. A Victor Fong, also 17, was arrested. A second youth was stabbed, and a third fled the brawl. After the stabbing, school safety officers amassed at the school in fear the killer would return there, a law enforcement source said.

Police denied that the killing was gang-related, but both youths had ties to neighborhood gangs that had been squabbling for some time, sources said. And, sources say, Pena and two friends were jumped by a group of teens who disappeared into a store and fled through a back entrance.

The victim's own cousin even posted a comment on a website saying it was gang-related. "The reality of it is that no matter what, a good or bad person should not have to lose their life over nonsense like this," the cousin wrote.

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