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Friends of Teen Stabbed To Death Hoping His Killer Is Caught

Aug 28, 2018, 11:42 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2018, 11:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Kensington Avenue, just off State Street in Salt Lake City, probably isn’t high on the list of places to visit downtown. But it’s the only place Kiki Rios wanted to see.

“It’s just a tragedy really,” she said while looking down at the street. “I’m just glad I got to know him. He was like my brother, you know? I don’t know. I can’t see him not being in my future. It’s hard.”

She’s talking about 16-year-old Marcelino Johnson.

And the spot she’s visiting is where he was stabbed and died.

Marcelino Johnson

“He was the most honest, selfless person. He cared so much about everybody else but himself,” said Rios.

That’s why she says she wasn’t surprised when she heard Johnson was defending a couple of girls in his group who were being harassed by some guys early Monday morning.

That turned into a fight which stretched several blocks.

The girls ran inside the Piper Down bar to get help, but when people ran out to assist, Johnson had already been stabbed just around the corner.

“He’s honestly a hero in a lot of people’s eyes because he was trying to save that poor girl,” said Rosie Rios, who is another one of Johnson’s friends.

Kensington Avenue near State Street

Rosie Rios also said Johnson was the type of person who always cared for others, even after his own grandfather and mother died recently.

“He had a hard time, but he looked at that like, ‘I’m still here and I’m still going to do the best I can to be here,’” she said. “He never showed his problems to anybody. We knew because we knew that side of him also, but it was hard for him to do that, to tell others, because he’s so used to turning something bad into something that is good.”

Kiki Rios remembering Johnson

Now, his friends are just trying to make sense of it all.

Salt Lake City police detectives are investigating the stabbing to find the person who did it and those who were involved in the fight.

Investigators are also looking at surveillance videos from nearby businesses to try and identify those involved.

Kensington Avenue

The surveillance video at Piper Down shows the girls running in for help.

“He needs justice and I really think he should get it,” said Kiki Rios. “He died helping someone and that’s the most honest thing someone can ever do in their life.”

Kiki Rios on Kensington

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Friends of Teen Stabbed To Death Hoping His Killer Is Caught