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Bronx Community Alarmed After Landlord Is Accused Of Killing Tenant

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Bronx community was in shock Thursday after a landlord was accused of killing a tenant in an alleged quarrel over unpaid rent.

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, Taha Mahran, 51, is charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon in the death of his tenant, 44-year-old Zakir Khan. He had been expected to appear in court on Thursday.

Police said Khan had not paid Mahran rent for months. Around 7 p.m. Wednesday, they said Mahran attacked him outside of the two family home on Logan Avenue in Throgs Neck where both men lived, lunging at Khan with a knife.

At the conclusion of midday prayers Thursday, worshippers from the Parkchester Mosque stared in grim disbelief at the news in their local paper. Both Mahran and Khan were congregants at the mosque.

"It must've been very frustrating for both parties -- one couldn't pay the rent, and the other couldn't pay mortgage, so they totally lost," said neighbor Mohammed Ali.

Police said the murder happened on the doorstep of the home. The victim was nine months behind on his rent and was confronted by the landlord at dinner hour, sources said.

"It had to be a crime of passion," said neighbor Felipe Rivera. "This is the game he played on him and he lost. Terrible."

Khan died from multiple stab wounds. The well-known real estate agent and immigrant leaves behind a wife and three children.

"I don't know anything," said the victim's cousin, Ahbab Chowdhery. "We are very shocked. Our people, our community is very shocked. Can't believe he is no longer with us."

"If you go to the Bangladeshi community in Jackson Heights, Queens; Brooklyn; Jamaica, everybody knows him," said Sheikh Al Manun, a friend of the victim. "His eldest daughter is in eighth grade right now. His youngest is only 5 years old."

Zakir Khan
Zakir Khan was stabbed to death in the Bronx on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, and his landlord has been charged. (Credit: CBS2)

Khan's 12-year-old son witnessed the crime.

"His son was outside of the house and he saw the man," the victim's brother, Sabur Khan, told CBS2's Janelle Burrell.

But while Khan's family and friends describe him as a wonderful dad and husband, some neighbors paint another picture.

"He just weaseled him out of the apartment," neighbor Rivera said.

They say Khan, a real estate broker, had promised to help Mahran sell his house but they say instead, he moved his own family in.

"He didn't pay rent or anything," Rivera said.

Friends say Khan lost his company a few years ago. For the last several months, Mahran had tried to evict him, Burrell reported.

"He was very stressed out about it and didn't know what else to do," said another neighbor, Leana Llanas.

They say Mahran had become even more frustrated in recent weeks.

"He has to call the cops all the time because wants them out and these people they don't want to leave," she said.

When police arrived, they found Khan unconscious. He later died at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi.

Police say after stabbing Khan, Mahran dumped a kitchen knife into a sewage drain outside his home, Burrell reported. Investigators say Mahran then walked to a nearby precinct station house covered in blood and turned himself in.

"He just had it," said Llanas. "I think he just reached that breaking point. It's so sad. Really, really sad."

"I wish he would've reached out. If I'd been walking my dog around there, I would've grabbed him," Rivera said. "It just never worked out; This was the outcome."

"We are seven brothers and this was the first to go," said Sabur Khan.

The dead man's funeral is expected on Friday as his former landlord begins his new life as a criminal defendant. Mahran was expected to be arraigned late Thursday.

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