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A 21-year-old Springfield Gardens man described as "hardworking and dynamic" was stabbed to death outside an Elmont, L.I. club Sunday morning where he was throwing a high graduation party for his younger sister, Nassau County police said.
At about 4 a.m. Carl Cantave was beaten and stabbed in the back outside Club Rum at 1325 Hempstead Turnpike by an unknown group of men who had tried to join the party, said Homicide Squad Sgt. Daniel Severin.
Cantave was taken to nearby Franklin Hospital Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m., said Bruce Beaver, a hospital spokesman.
"We worked on him for about 45 minutes to stop the bleeding and replace fluids," Beaver said.
Police are now searching for about six men 18 to 22 years old who tried to crash the party and then attacked Cantave as it was ending, Severin said. There were no descriptions of the suspects at the time, he said.
Cantave threw the party with his mother and older brother for his sister Valerie, who recently graduated from Springfield Gardens High School. Both Carl and his 23-year-old brother James had also graduated from the Queens school, relatives said. About 60 friends and relatives attended the graduation party.
The Cantaves emigrated from Haiti six years ago and they rent a small basement apartment in a Springfield Gardens residence.
"This all happened very suddenly," said Ronald Soccorso, the owner of Club Rum.
Soccorso said he was unsure of whether the attackers were inside the club at any point.
"The poor guy was stabbed out in the front," Soccorso said. "He tried to climb in on his own power and that's where he collapsed,"
He said it was a successful party and there had been no signs of any trouble.
"Everybody was well-dressed, it was a family party," he said. "This was a damn shame."
The stabbing occurred about an hour after four men fired into the Porterhouse Grill steakhouse in Fresh Meadows, injuring four patrons, after they were refused entry to a private party. Police have arrested three suspects in the shootings and were searching for a fourth.
Relatives gathered at the Cantaves' somber home Monday to console each other. Aunts, uncles, and cousins sat mostly in silence as the immediate family was out making funeral arrangements.
"At the end of the party he was inside the club and was covered in blood," said Ronalde Rameau, Cantave's aunt.
Rameau was not at the party, but was relaying the story told to her by Cantave's younger cousins, who do not speak English fluently.
Rameau struggled through tears to talk about her nephew, whom she described as full of promise.
"He was a very dynamic human being," Rameau said. "He came to this country like all people in search of a better life."
She said Cantave had completed two years at Nassau Community College and had been working part time, although she did not know where.
"People have no idea why this happened," she said. "They were celebrating a graduation."
Rameau said if the perpetrators are caught, the family would feel some amount of satisfaction.
"This is a culture of murder," she said angrily. "If you're driving past a person the wrong way, you might get killed."
When they returned home, Cantave's siblings - Valerie and James - said they were too upset to speak about their brother. They did not say where or when the funeral would take place.
Anyone with information on the killing is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All calls will remain anonymous.
©2000 Community Newspaper Group
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