Suspect arrested in fatal stabbing of man in Reading

Scene about a block away from police headquarters

READING, Pa. - A suspect is in custody in connection with the fatal stabbing of a man near police headquarters in Reading.

Hilario Rivera-Cruz was apprehended late Wednesday night at the scene in the 900 block of Washington Street, near Moss Street.

RPD officers responded around 11 p.m. to the report of a man being stabbed inside 923 Washington.

"Going up to the second floor, there was a man standing there still holding a knife," Sgt. Darrin Dougherty told 69 News. 

In the other hand, according to court documents, was a 40-ounce bottle of beer.

Police ordered the suspect, later identified as Rivera-Cruz, to drop the knife, which he did, but once outside the home, police said he refused to cooperate with them.

"He [officer] told him [Rivera-Cruz] to stop and to raise his hands," witness Maria Vazquez told 69 News. "The guy raised his hands and proceeded to walk toward the police officer."

That's when, Dougherty said, the officer deployed his stun gun to apprehend Rivera-Cruz.

"He was charged with murder of the first-degree and related offenses," Dougherty said.

Officers continued their search of the building, eventually finding the victim -- 49-year-old Nelson Rivera-Reyes -- lying dead in a large pool of blood inside his apartment on the second floor. He had a large laceration to his neck, according to court documents.

"It seems like the altercation started as some time of neighbor dispute," Dougherty said. "They lived in the same building, separate rooms."

"In that house, police seem to be always in there," Vazquez said. "There's always different people living there."

During a later interview with detectives at police headquarters, Rivera-Cruz, 56, declined to answer questions, invoking his right to speak with an attorney.

As he was about to be led off to central processing, however, Rivera-Cruz pleaded with an officer not to make the handcuffs too tight, saying with a chuckle, "I do nothing too much, only kill somebody. That's all," according to court documents.

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