EXCLUSIVE: Good Samaritan helps Columbus Circle subway stabbing victim

COLUMBUS CIRCLE, Manhattan (WABC) -- It was a little after 5:00 in the morning on Saturday. Most riders on a southbound C train were half asleep, when all of a sudden there was panic - someone with a knife was going car-to-car.

"I just suddenly saw a whole bunch of people running towards me from the other train car saying someone was stabbing people...so honestly I thought it was a terror attack or something," says Good Samaritan Peter Kerre.

Police say that suspect had just robbed a 28-year-old man, then tried to rob a second victim, a 61-year-old man who refused to give up his belongings.

"He said 'a gentleman just tried to rob me and you know we fought, he stabbed me three times' - he had like three gaping holes," Kerre said.

Police say the victim was stabbed repeatedly in his stomach. Kerre said the victim was initially in shock, but then quickly mustered up the courage to fight back.

"He was unconscious - he was speaking and he was ready to fight. He was like, 'listen - let's just go back and all of us just fight him,'" he added.

That is when Kerre says everyone on the train ran to the front car and huddled together, terrified. With the train running express from 125th to 59th Street, he says minutes felt like hours. When they realized it was not a terrorist and there was only one suspect, he says he and the two victims and the conductor stood together, waiting for the suspect in the car they were in.

When that suspect saw Kerre was standing there between him and his victims, the suspect turned away. When the train got to Columbus Circle, the suspect ran onto the platform, but police were waiting for him, and he immediately was taken into custody.

39-year-old Jamel Purnell from Manhattan was charged with robbery, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

The 61-year-old victim is from Manhattan and is in stable condition at St. Luke's Hospital undergoing surgery. He is going to be okay, likely because of a brave stranger who stood up to defend him.
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