A homeless man lay in a pool of blood from stab wounds after attempting to rescue a woman being attacked while seven New Yorkers walked and gawked passing by for an hour, police said.
Police said it was unknown if Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, a Guatemalan immigrant, was dead as passersby watched. It took four 911 calls until police and firemen arrived at the correct address and determined. he had died of the wounds.
Detectives reconstructed the crime scene from a store's video camera. The footage showed seven people going by, some turning their heads to gawk and one who turned the body over, exposing what appeared to be blood on the sidewalk, and then walking away.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Tale-Yax, 31, was walking behind a man and a woman in Queens at about 6 a.m. April 18 when the pair began fighting. The man and woman ran off in different directions before the immigrant caught up with the male. The surveillance camera filmed the stabbing.
No arrests have been made as of Monday.
In 1964, the media exaggerated the sensational murder case of Kitty Genovese in which initial reports claimed 38 witnesses watched or heard and failed to intervene or even contact police as a serial murderer raped and assaulted her.
The American Psychologist published a story in 2007 which debunked most of the media reports of the Genovese case which is one of many documented accounts of bystander effect, a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present.
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