New York City police are searching for a suspect who allegedly stabbed a 29-year-old man at a subway station in Midtown Manhattan on Monday.
According to police, the victim was traveling on a northbound 2 train on the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line when the suspect began shouting anti-gay statements at other passengers. The man then made those same statements to the victim.
He then allegedly addressed the victim, saying: “Yo’ big ass want to sit down with your legs crossed, f—-t.”
The two men then got into an argument, which turned physical, and spilled onto the platform as the train stopped at the 34th Street-Penn Station stop. The suspect then stabbed the victim with an unknown object and fled.
The victim got back on the train before realizing he had been stabbed on the left side of his chest and torso. He then took himself to Mount Sinai West, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, reports the New York Post.
The suspect, shown in a surveillance image, is described as having a dark complexion, being about 5’11” tall and weighing around 185 pounds, with facial hair. He was last seen wearing a red Chicago Bulls basketball hat, a gold chain around his neck, a black shirt, green cargo shorts, and multi-colored sneakers.
Those with any information about the case or the suspect are asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Earlier, on Sunday evening, a similar unprovoked attack was carried out by a man yelling anti-gay slurs at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
The victim in that case, 20-year-old Dylan Spinosa, said he had gone into Manhattan with a group of friends and was returning to Staten Island around 8:45 p.m. when they encountered a drunk man who was harassing women at a bus stop outside the terminal and making sexually suggestive comments toward them.
“Every female he passed he had to say something sexual,” Spinosa told NBC New York. “He was telling them how old women have to sell their nudes online, and have to sell their body for money to get by.”
Spinosa and a 30-year-old bystander shooed the man away, but her returned and began harassing another woman, and trailing closely behind her, despite her asking him to leave her alone. The two Good Samartians then stepped in again, with the aggressor turning his attention to Spinosa.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Um, what are you looking at?’ and then he said the F-word and I proceeded to step up to him,” Spinosa recalled.
The men then got into a scuffle, with the drunk man punching the 30-year-old in the face. Spinosa put the man in a headlock before releasing him, at which point the man struck him in the back of his right shoulder.
“I didn’t notice that I was stabbed until a police officer and my friend said, ‘You’re bleeding.’ He had a blade I want to say was about three to four inches long,” Spinosa said.
Spinosa was admitted to Richmond University Medical Center in stable condition.
Police later arrested the suspect, identified as 47-year-old Eric Shields of Norfolk, Virginia, who is in jail and faces charges of assault, possession of a weapon, menacing, and harassment.
Prosecutors are weighing whether to pursue hate crime charges, as the incident is still under investigation by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force. Spinosa told NBC New York that the man may have called him an anti-gay slur because some of his friends were wearing shirts with the colors of the Pride flag.
The two latest stabbings are just a few of several dozen violent incidents in recent months in which people in New York City have been attacked while on public transit. Attacks have ticked up as city officials begin easing social distancing restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting police to increase patrols on the subways to deal with the surge in crime.
In the most recent attack prior to the Sunday stabbing in Staten Island, a transgender woman was stabbed with a screwdriver while riding the subway in Lower Manhattan. She was treated at a local hospital and later released, and is currently recovering from her injuries.
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