After Death of LES Teen, Family of 17-Year-Old Suspect Speaks Out

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

It’s been one month since 16-year-old Raphael Ward was shot and killed near his Lower East Side home. Since then, another teen has been arrested in connection to the shooting.

The suspect, Timothy Montalvo, now 17, lived with his grandmother just blocks from Raphael on Avenue D. He confessed to holding the gun that eventually shot and killed the popular boy who hoped to play pro baseball one day, police said.

Timothy has been charged with second degree murder and weapons possession and is due back in court next week.

Raphael’s mother Arlene Delgado is only starting to deal with his loss. Her grief quickly switches to anger when she thinks about the only suspect  apprehended so far in the case.

"He's my son's age,” Delgado said. “I don't know what kind of life he lived, but there had to be some type of home training. … So what happened? Somebody told you to carry the gun and you just carry it? Are you that stupid? I'm sure your mother told you that."

On a recent afternoon, Timothy’s 61-year-old grandmother Lydia Bonilla slouched into a friend’s couch in the Jacob Riis housing projects on Avenue D. She teared up when asked about whether she kept tabs on Timothy.

“I would always ask him, ‘Where are you going? What are you doing?’” said Bonilla, who has been Timothy's main caregiver since her daughter died four years ago.

Timothy’s older brother, David Sanchez, said his sibling went from a happy-go-lucky kid to someone who was checked out and withdrawn at 12 years old — when their single mother, a recovering drug addict, died from complications following a lung transplant.

“My mom was basically our walking diary,” said Sanchez, 29, “She was everything to us and when that gets taken away from you. You get confused, like, now what?”

After his mother’s death, Timothy would stay in his room and not communicate with his family. When he thought no one was watching, his brother said, Timothy would go into his grandmother’s room and speak to the urn that held his mother’s ashes.

(Photo: Timothy Montalvo, 17, is a suspect in the shooting death of Raphael Ward, 16.Courtesy of David Sanchez)

Sanchez said it was then that his brother sought comfort in the streets and with the wrong people. The shooting happened as a rivalry between youths at the Jacob Riis and Baruch Houses was heating up. Sanchez said his youngest brother, who is 13, was jumped late last year and got his jacket stolen and Timothy was determined to get it back.

But when asked why Timothy would agree to hold a gun for someone, Sanchez said it had more to do with trying to impress his peers.

“Showing off — that's all,” he said. “’I'm actually holding a gun I got a gun in my possession,’” he said imitating the thought process, “’I want to be down. I want to be a follower instead of a leader.’”

Since the shooting, he said his family has received death threats and that he fears for his grandmother’s safety.

He said the family is also worried that the more time that passes without another arrest in the case, all of the blame will fall on his brother.

(Photo: David Sanchez shows the tattoo of his five brothers’ names he had inked on his leg.Kathleen Horan/WNYC )

Sanchez said he hoped that speaking out would encourage a continued investigation by police.  He also wants to make amends.

“I would like to speak for the mother — I would look her in her eyes and tell her I'm sorry for your loss and I'm sorry that something so tragic had to happen.”

Sanchez said his brother and Raphael are forever linked.

“Two kids in the wrong place at the wrong time who both lost their lives,” he said, looking away. “I mean one fatally, and one to the system.”


Xana O'Neill


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Comments [5]

Jenaii My Son Gone 2 17

I raised 3 children in the bronx 23, 17, & 15 me & my husband are union construction workers. My son had his life cut short also by illegal guns. He was at his peak in life top two of his senior class. Didnt want for anything. We have start somewhere and take these streets back. Senseless murders on the rise they have all the same thing in common GUNS, ILLEGAL GUNS.

Apr. 30 2013 01:20 AM

Agree with John 100%. You cannot throw every set of circumstances in front of parenting and then claim failure. Sadly, for many of these "families" children are not valued and their lives do not merit sacrifice compared to the adult's schedule, material possessions, recreation and entertainment. For other families, their native culture does not translate to the demands of crime-ridden city life effectively.
Poverty absorbs a great deal of energy and attention but not all- yet very little is left for the children, who are largely left to their own devices.
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's stupendous success "Random Family" aired out these
realities of multiple East Tremont Bronx households with parallel circumstances.
The children would clamor and beg for maternal or paternal attention but they could never compete with the pleasant lures of their parents' preferred priorities.Cultural differences, anyone??

Feb. 08 2013 08:58 AM
Thomas Pain from Thackery-on-Sheldon

Where are the fathers?

It's also a good thing that our culture glorifies and handsomely rewards thugs and murderers. So, yes, let's all "be down". There's BIG MONEY in "being down". Just ask former stabber, misogynist, homophobe, self-loathing multi-millionaire, Jay Z.

Would someone please explain the concept of "wrong place at the wrong time"? Like, when a 2 ton anvil falls from the roof of a building and hits a guy walking along the street? Would that be considered
"wrong place at the wrong time"? How about walking through your housing project? Is that WRONG?!!

Another young life lost to the sickening violence that infects this dying country.

Feb. 07 2013 12:19 AM
K Webster from NYC

Cold? How about ill-informed?
These children have been raised by mothers trying as hard as they can fighting against (their own or others) addiction, poverty, racism, sexism, lack of training or hope or community resources. They have to deal with their beloved children being called "idiots" because they can't cope with their tough lives and dead mothers.
You try raising a teenager in these circumstances.
BTW: I don't know any parent no matter how well-resourced who feels they have the parent-of-teen job under their belt. Because you don't parent in a vacuum. Take a look around at the world they are growing up in. Greedy bankers rewarded -small time addicts go to jail. Ethics anyone?
As to one housing project fighting with another being "incredible"....
I think it's pretty "incredible" that entire childhoods are lived in a nation at war. Who exactly is modeling handling conflicts peacefully?

This child is talking to us. For God's sake listen.
I remember finding a child on the street who had been stabbed by another child. One dies and the other lives with that act. You don't forget the face. You never forget the face.

Feb. 06 2013 05:31 PM
john from office

These stories are sad. But, not to be cold, these kids are not being raised by anyone. There are no parents. This nonsense about one housing project fighting another is incredible. Idiots killing idiots.

Feb. 06 2013 08:01 AM

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