A Queens man was fatally stabbed this month after he attempted to break up a fight inside a Jamaica home where the alleged suspect started an altercation with another friend and then fled the scene, only to be found in Indiana in a car with a large quantity of drugs, according to police.
Muhammad Habib, 24, has been charged with murder, weapons possession, tampering with a witness and assault in connection with the Queens, New York slaying, and also faces several local drug charges in Hancock County, Indiana, where he was apprehended.
New York police say Wycliffe “Chris” Gentles, 43, died defending his 30-year- old friend Ruhel Choudhury after Habib entered their Jamaica home on Guy R. Brewer Blvd. near Tuskegee Airmen Way carrying drugs at approximately 10:40 a.m. on April 13.
Gentles and Choudhury met and became friends fixing cars, the New York Daily News reports. The two, who had been living together for the past few months, knew Habib as a car customer, according to the newspaper.
When Habib entered the pair’s home on April 13 Choudhury told Habib, who appeared to be high, that he had to leave. This sparked a quarrel between the two men, Choudhury told the New York Daily News.
“I don’t believe in drugs,” he said of the incident. “Habib has no right to come into my house.”
Police officials say Gentles tried to break up the fight and ended up in an altercation with Habib. As the two grappled, Habib pulled out a knife and began slashing at Gentles, who then grabbed a heavy ashtray and struck Habib in the head with it, according to authorities.
An enraged Habib chased Gentles down a flight of stairs, during which Gentles managed to grab a 2-by-4 and raised it toward Habib. The wild fight then continued outside of the Jamaica residence in the torrential rain, where Habib gained the upper hand and Gentles fell to the ground. That’s when Habib allegedly stabbed Gentles seven times in the neck and torso — puncturing his left chest, lung and pulmonary artery — according to prosecutors.
Choudhury said he dialed 911 while attempting to save his friend.
“I’m trying to hold his blood in,” Choudhury said to the New York Daily News. “I had blood all over, I couldn’t see who I was calling. Blood was all over me.”
Medics rushed Gentles to Jamaica Hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries. A few hours later Habib, who fled the scene in a car, allegedly sent a threatening text message to Choudhury, warning that he would hurt him too if he blabbed, prosecutors said.
“Snitches get treated the same,” the New York Daily News reported the alleged assailant wrote to Choudhury after he allegedly killed Gentles outside their home.
Habib was found that night in Hancock County, Indiana, some 750 miles west of Queens after police tried to pull him and another occupant of his car over, the Greenfield Daily Reporter newspaper reports.
Habib was apparently on his way to Missouri with 22-year-old Khusbu Patel of Queens when they caught the attention of Sgt. James Goodwin of the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, who was patrolling westbound I-70 near the Hancock/Henry County line as part of a task force.
The sergeant reported he observed the white Honda Civic the pair occupied commit multiple lane violations, prompting him to run the license plate. Goodwin soon learned the occupants were wanted on felony charges and considered armed and dangerous.
Habib and Patel led police on a chase before being stopped near the 109-mile marker of westbound I-70.
“It could have been a very dangerous situation,” Harris told the Indiana newspaper.
Police said they found two pounds of suspected marijuana, suspected crack cocaine, multiple packages of illicit pills, and heroin in the car after it was stopped. Patel was found to have concealed suspected narcotics in her clothing, according to reports.
Habib was returned to Queens on Thursday to face charges when a judge ordered him held without bond on charges of murder, weapons possession, witness tampering, and assault.