Love was the last word Elexson Hercules muttered to his friend Brianale Sanseverino as she tried to save him after he was stabbed multiple times on Thursday night in East Boston.
“I think he was trying to say that he loved someone,” Sanseverino said. “I took off my shirt to try and stop the blood. I was begging him not to die. But he just said ‘love’ and closed his eyes, and that was it.”
Sanseverino, 20, said she and Hercules, 19, along with three other friends, were walking to a restaurant on Bennington Street to get food for Hercules’s girlfriend when he stopped to talk to a group of four men. Sanseverino and the three friends sensed nothing wrong and continued walking.
Then, she heard him pleading.
“He hated confrontation,” she said. “I heard him say, ‘I don’t want any problems,’ and then they stabbed him five times in the chest. He didn’t fight back.”
Boston police responded to the intersection of Bennington and Marion streets around midnight to investigate a reported stabbing, authorities said on Friday.
According to police, Hercules was found lying on the ground and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
As of Saturday evening, no arrests had been made, police said.
Sanseverino said she wishes she could have done more to save Hercules or to help identify the men, but she did not see their faces.
“I did CPR. I tried to stop the blood, but it just wasn’t working,” Sanseverino said. “Nothing was working. He’s been stabbed and shot before, so we thought he was going to make it out of this one too, but then they told me he died.”
In 2010, Hercules was shot in East Boston, according to his father, Salvador Salinas, 47. Salinas told the Globe on Friday that police asked Hercules to testify in court, but his son did not want to because he feared for the safety of his family.
Eventually he cooperated with police, and Salinas believes his son was targeted because of his testimony.
Although Hercules was not afraid of dying, Sanseverino said, he was always trying to protect his family.
“They [the police] should have had a detail for him,” she said. “They could have done a better job of protecting him.”
Sanseverino said the birth of his daughter, now 1, inspired Hercules to distance himself from the gang he had been a part of since he was a child.
According to an article published by Massachusetts General Hospital, Hercules admitted to being a gang member but said he was leaving that life behind because of the recent birth of his daughter.
“He liked the thrill of being in a gang and he liked chilling with his friends, but he never walked around shooting people,” Sanseverino said. “He left the gang because of his daughter. He was being the best father he could be.”
His father said on Friday that his son had hoped to attend college.
Sanseverino also emphasized that he wanted to make a difference in his community.
“He really cared about people,” she said. “He wanted to be a police officer.”
Alejandra Matos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amatos12.