Elderly landlord dead after being violently pushed down stairs in dispute with tenant

"My dad flew from the front door to the concrete of the sidewalk."

January 14, 2020, 4:01 PM

A Queens man was arrested for allegedly causing the death of his elderly landlord over a rent dispute by pushing the homeowner down the stairs, officials said.

The incident occurred in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, New York City, on Sunday at around 2:30 p.m. when 71-year-old Edgar Moncayo went to the home that he owned in the 3200 block of 102nd Street to reportedly confront his 22-year old tenant, Alex Garces, over missed rental payments.

"The guy pushed my dad so furiously that my dad flew from the front door to the concrete of the sidewalk," Moncayo's daughter, Cristina Moncayo, said in an interview with ABC New York station WABC.

The deadly confrontation was captured on a doorbell video. It shows Moncayo at the front door talking on a cell phone on the stoop of the home when Garces, who was inside the home, briefly stepped out.

Garces allegedly shoved Moncayo with such force that the older man fell backward down the steps and onto the sidewalk below where he hit his head, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a press release on Tuesday.

"We didn’t expect this to ever happen. It is like a dream, you know, a nightmare," said Mocayo’s grandson. "He was a great grandfather actually. A hard working man who had three daughters, several grandkids."

Moncayo suffered a traumatic brain injury and died at a nearby hospital, prosecutors said.

Garces was charged with first-degree manslaughter, second-degree reckless manslaughter and second-degree assault where the victim is 65 years or older, prosecutors said. A judge set bail at $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash or $25,000 partially secured case bail.

It's unclear is Garces posted bail on Tuesday afternoon. A plea was not entered at his criminal court arraignment.

According to the Moncayo family, Garces had been causing problems and threatening to leave the property without paying anything at all. Garces had also allegedly missed paying his rent for at least one month when Edgar Moncayo approached him over the weekend, the family said.

Moncayo's grandson told WABC that his grandfather had even reduced Garces’ rent from $400 to $200 a month to help the tenant.

Garces allegedly told police that he did not hit Moncayo with a mattress. According to a spokeswoman from the Queens DA's office, Garces said he was moving a mattress when Monacyo got hit by it.

"I was very surprised because I saw him yesterday around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. He was alive after I’d come back from church," neighbor Sergio Luna told the station.

Moncayo’s daughter said that her father’s organs will be donated.

Garces faces up to 25 years in prison.