White Plains, NY — Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah announced that Peekskill resident Matthew Torres was sentenced to prison for the stabbing death of 18-year-old Joaquin Salazar.
Torres, 18, was sentenced on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, to 10 years in state prison, with five years of post-release supervision. On September 29, 2021, he pled guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree and Assault in the First Degree, both felonies.
“This was a horrible tragedy, and we mourn the loss of Joaquin Salazar, whose young life was taken far too early. Our hearts break for his family, loved ones, and the entire Peekskill community,” DA Rocah shared with Black Westchester. “Speaking with parents who have lost a child due to crime is one of the hardest things I do as a mother and as District Attorney. This tragedy shattered so many young lives, including the defendant’s, in an instant. There must be accountability, and we must also work together as a community to ensure that disputes amongst young people do not end with death.”
On November 28, 2020, at approximately 9:15 p.m., several teens gathered at China Pier on Louisa Street in Peekskill to settle a dispute that began on social media. Torres, who was 17 at the time, stabbed Salazar multiple times during the exchange. Salazar, a Peekskill resident, was transported to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he was pronounced dead. A second victim, who Torres stabbed one time, was also taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.
Salazar was a gifted soccer player at Peekskill High, who in 2019 was a contender for the Journal News player of the week award.
“Joaquin was a soccer star, upcoming, overall great player, great person, great kid. He had a bright future,” Salazar’s uncle Marcello Santucci after the incident.
The Peekskill Police Department, assisted by New York State Police, investigated the incident and arrested Torres.
The case was before Judge Helen Blackwood in Youth Part and was prosecuted by Senior Trial Counsel Craig Ascher.