Four people were arrested in connection with four unprovoked stabbing and slashing attacks on New York City’s subway Friday morning that sent five people to the hospital.
The suspects were spotted by NYPD Commander Kenny Gorman and Officer Jeffrey Delacruz were spotted leaving the northbound 1-train in the area of 79th Street and Broad around 11:20am, NYPD said late Friday afternoon.
The suspects’ names or mugshots weren’t released, and charges are pending.
One man, 48, was stabbed in the eye and needed surgery while two others were slashed in the face in the early hours of Friday morning. Another described waking up to being punched in the face.
In one attack, the victim’s wallet was stolen, and his phone was thrown on the tracks, police said.
The first three attacks happened over a 10-minute span starting at 4:20am on the same train. The fourth attack was reported about 30 minutes later, but police said all four were committed by the same suspects.
The brazen acts of violence are the latest of 15 assaults on the subway system this week alone, according to Transit Worker Union boss Tony Utano, and appear to part of the epidemic of violence that has gripped New York City’s underground rail lines.
Four people were attacked in 11 minutes at three different stops along a Brooklyn-bound 4-train Friday morning. Cops at the scene after the attack
Between 4:26am and 4:37am, NYPD said two to three men punched and slashed four people, stole money and wallets, and, in at least one attack, threw someone’s cell phone on tracks so the victim couldn’t call 911
The first attack was around 4:20am, when a 44-year-old man on the southbound 4-train was slashed in the left side of his cheek, police said.
He got off at the 14th Street/Union Square station, but the suspects stayed on the train beat two sleeping men about five minutes later, according to police.
One man, 41, was woken up with sucker punch to the face, and the second man, 40, was slashed across the face, police said. They got off the train at Astor Place in Manhattan.
The suspects continued to wreak havoc on the train by slashing a fourth man, 44, across the face while he boarded the train from the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station at 4:30am and threw his phone on the tracks, police said.
About 30 minutes later, a fifth victim, 48, told police in the area of Yankee stadium that he stabbed in the eye, slashed in the back and left side of his neck, and robbed of his backpack in the area of 79th Street-Broadway subway station.
Utano the blame falls squarely on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s shoulders and told the New York City mayor that he should resign in an emphatic statement that put an exclamation point on a Friday afternoon press conference.
Sarah Feinberg, interim MTA president, echoed the union boss’s sentiment, saying de Blasio created a culture of violence in the subways.
These ‘very serious’ armed robbery and slashing incidents ‘all seemingly could have been prevented by a uniformed presence on each of these platforms,’ Feinberg said.
‘The responsibility for these vicious attacks does not fall on an already strapped police department, it falls on City Hall and the individuals who are taking advantage of the mayor’s negligence on the issue,’ she said.
‘If he needed a wake-up call, this is it. Enough is enough. The mayor is risking New York’s recovery every time he lets these incidents go by without meaningful action.’
NYPD crime figures show felony assault was up 35.6% in April from last year, murder has increased 15.8% and robbery had soared by 28.6%
‘The blood of these victims is on de Blasio’s hands’: MTA union slams NYC Mayor for soaring violence on the city’s subways
TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano full statement about subway crisis:
‘Since last Sunday there have been 15 serious assaults with knives, razors and fists on New York City transit riders and transit workers. God only knows what the weekend will bring.
These incidents are unfortunately no longer about the crimes, or criminals, or the victims.
They are about one guy, who could take action, but refuses to do so.
And by this criminal inaction, Mayor de Blasio has created a crisis of confidence in our transit system.
The blood of these victims is on Mayor de Blasio’s hands.
New York transit riders and transit workers deserve better.
When the Mayor takes the subway, he is escorted by NYPD detectives, and he cluelessly declares that the subways are safe.
We need a large, visible police presence in the subways riding the trains and patrolling the platforms at all times of the day.
When New Yorkers, and visitors to New York, are afraid to use our transit system, everything breaks down, and our City will not recover from the pandemic.
The Mayor has obviously checked out on New York. He should resign now and allow someone else, anyone else, to deal with the safety of New Yorkers above and below ground.’
Utano was joined by Patrick Foye, MTA’s chairman and CEO, at the press conference.
Foye said they need 600 to 800 uniformed officers on the platforms and in the subway cars plus mental health resources to curtail the unprovoked, random attacks.
Bill Neidhardt, spokesperson for de Blasio fired back in a response statement Friday morning, saying New York City pulled cops off desk duty and ‘is surging over 500 officers on top of a 2,500-strong transit force to fight subway crime.’
‘We’re going to keep putting massive resources into this fight to keep our subways safe,’ Neidhardt said. ‘Meanwhile the MTA sends out statements that point fingers and talk about mayoral politics. Get with the program, help us fight back this crime.’
Friday’s attack happened two days after four commuters were beaten over the course of three hours in unprovoked subway attacks, including a victim who was spit on and slashed in the face.
The unnamed victim was seated on a bench at the Times Square station on the southbound platform for the No. 1, 2 and 3 lines when he was approached by an unidentified man Wednesday morning.
He told police the assailant began talking to him, at which point he removed his headphones and asked: ‘Are you talking to me?’
This week’s violence on the subways were the latest in a rash of random assaults in a year-long trend sparked by the pandemic.
Police leaders in the city previously say the random street and subway attacks is returning New York to its 1980s nadir, when lawlessness and murder were commonplace.
There was a tough crackdown in the 1980s, which lowered crime levels made neighborhoods that were previously known as no-go areas safe to walk around, even at night.
But now, there are fears the city is returning to the bad old days, including areas like today’s attacks in Midtown Manhattan, which have generally been considered to be safe.
In an essay written exclusively for DailyMail.com on Wednesday, Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio and fellow officials for New York City’s descent into lawlessness.
‘As the city burns, more lives are lost, and devastated families mourn, these buffoonish ‘leaders’ continue to say the police are the problem – not the solution,’ wrote Mullins.
NYPD figures from April show the overall crime index rose 30.4% compared to the same month last year.
This was driven by a 166% increase in shooting incidents, a 35.6% increase in felony assault, and a 66% increase in reported thefts.
Murder rates in the city have gone up by 15.8% year-on-year, robbery is up 28.6% and rape has increased by 53%, according to official figures from the NYPD.
Unprovoked attacks are leaving some residents on edge and even looking for self-defense classes.
DailyMail.com contacted Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s office for comment.