NEW YORK — Seven young men were charged Monday in the stabbing death of a 22-year-old Utah tourist killed on a subway platform as he tried to protect his mother, police said.
Yulla Garry Morales, 19, of Queens, and six other young men were charged with murder and robbery Monday night, detective Joseph DeMartino told a news conference. The names of the other suspects were not released.
The youths were charged in the death of Brian Watkins of Provo, Utah, who was visiting New York with his family to watch the U.S. Open tennis tournament. He was fatally stabbed as he waited on the platform of a midtown Manhattan subway station at 10:20 p.m. Sunday, DeMartino said.
Police believe Morales wielded the knife, the detective said.
"We are certain that these seven are the principal actors," DeMartino said, adding that more arrests were possible.
Watkins and his 26-year-old brother, Todd, had jumped to their mother's aid after the seven youths attacked her and their father, Transit Police spokesman Al O'Leary said.
Watkins died at St. Vincent's Hospital. His mother and father, who also were injured, were treated at the same hospital and released. Todd Watkins and his wife, Michelle, were not injured, O'Leary said.
Police said the family had planned to ride the subway to Tavern on the Green in Central Park, just two stops away.
Members of the family were "huge tennis buffs," a friend said, and the trip to the Open at the National Tennis Center in Queens was an annual event.
The family's Mormon bishop, David G. (Doc) Hansen, said Brian Watkins was a tennis star at Provo High School and went to Idaho State University on a tennis scholarship. In addition, he taught the sport at a club in Provo, where his parents, Sherwin and Karen, are ardent tennis players.
Sharon Sandgren, a family friend in Provo, described Brian Watkins as "an easy going, soft-spoken guy. He wasn't a violent person. If he was going to get in a fight, something would have really had to provoke him."