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Mother charged with murder in fatal stabbing of 2 small children inside Bronx family shelter

Neighbors shocked following fatal stabbings of two young boys in Bronx
Neighbors shocked following fatal stabbings of two young boys in Bronx 03:02

NEW YORK -- A mother has been arrested and charged with murder after her two young children were found dead with stab wounds in a Bronx family shelter.

Police said the 22-year-old woman was acting erratic when they arrived at the shelter on Saturday night. She was arrested and charged early Monday morning, CBS2's Zinnia Maldonado reported

A growing memorial sits outside the Echo Place family shelter in Mount Hope, remembering who police sources identify as 3-year-old Deshawn Fleming and 11-month-old Octavius Fleming-Canada.

"It's shocking to me, especially to know that I knew the boys. I've gave them clothes. I've done things, even talking to her word for word," a neighbor told CBS2's Kristie Keleshian on Sunday. 

"I heard the father yelling, 'Help me!' I was watching out my window. I see the babies on their stretchers. The EMTs were doing CPR and I couldn't believe it. I was out my window yelling. I couldn't believe it," another neighbor said.

Police got a call at around 7:20 p.m. on Saturday about a woman acting erratic, but non-violent with no weapons. She is believed to be the boys' mother.

"Additional information said the female was trying to burn items inside of the kitchen area. Officers arrived and found a 24-year-old female naked inside of the apartment on the third floor acting irrational," Deputy Chief of Patrol Louis De Ceglie said.

She was then taken to Saint Barnabas Hospital to be evaluated.

"You battle some things in the mind, mentally, nobody else would know about if you don't share. But she has shared some depression. She's always been, you know, highs and lows," a woman who did not want to give her name said.

READ MOREPolice: 11-month-old, 3-year-old fatally stabbed in the Bronx, mother taken into custody

Police were told the boys were with their father, but they weren't. Police sources say their father, Columbus Canada, returned to the apartment shortly after to find his two sons with stab wounds to their necks and torsos in a bathtub, with water under clothing.

"I did notice when all the EMTs were coming, I went out to the hallway, I did just see a puddle of water on the second floor," the neighbor said. "From the third floor, the water was leaking, because as I came out, after everything did occur, I did see the first floor was filled with water as well, so it did come down, the water."

Frances Pimentel across the street said he believes he saw the mother before she was taken to Saint Barnabas.

"I saw a lady acting crazy acting, 'What I did, what I did, what I did,' so I asked her, 'What happened? You okay?' She looked at me, but she said nothing to me. She just looked at me and said, 'What I did, what I did, what I did,'" Pimentel said.

The entrance to the family shelter is next door to a tenant building. Tenants said the walls are so thin, they can hear their neighbors.

"Sometimes I be trying to sleep and I could hear them literally beating on each other. I gotta bang on the wall, so that they could stop," a neighbor said.

A Department of Social Services spokesperson said in a statement, "This is an incredibly heartbreaking and shocking tragedy. We offer our deepest condolences to all those who have been impacted and stand ready to provide them with any support they need during this incredibly difficult time."

Shelter residents said they see its staff constantly change.

"It's unfortunate. I would think with people they would have psychology, somebody go through the process. They come in, intake, and they go through the process, but they don't do any of that," the neighbor said.

Three-year-old Fleming was described by neighbors as a happy boy who was always at the park.

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