UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 26-year-old man was stabbed in the subway on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and his girlfriend pepper sprayed the suspect as he fled on another train.
The suspect entered the northbound 2 train just after 11 p.m. Wednesday and stood uncomfortably close to the victim's girlfriend.
The victim stood up to block him, and the suspect punched him in the head. A verbal dispute ensued, and the suspect pulled a kitchen knife and went to stab him.
The victim deflected the attack, and he was cut in his left leg and the index finger of his left hand.
His girlfriend pulled out her Mace and sprayed the suspect, who then fled the train.
The suspect got off at the 72nd St. station, fleeing onto a northbound 1 train. He is described as a man in his 50s with facial hair who was wearing a blue hoodie.
The victim, Sammi Tovar, said he would be dead if it wasn't for his girlfriend.
"He would have continued, he seemed mildly amused at everything so I'm glad she got him when she did," Tovar said. "She was able to get him like bullseye, right in the face, so that got him stunned and he ran away."
Police officers who happened to be at the 72nd Street station applied a tourniquet to the victim's leg before he was rushed to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in stable condition.
No arrests have been made.
The 26-year-old victim, a Massachusetts native, moved to NYC just two months ago and he said he was aware of the recent spike in violent crimes underground.
His girlfriend, who did not want to be identified, shared a message to the riding public.
"It is extremely, extremely important that women in particular are ready to defend themselves because it seems like it is absolutely necessary, things are really bad out there," she said.
Word of the incident left area residents concerned but determined to carry on. Danny Abrahms told Eyewitness News the attack is a reminder of what New York City was like 40 years ago, when he first moved here.
"It goes up and down. I think historically it is low for New York City," he said. "We've been up a little bit. I'm not worried one bit."
Others said they'll continue to ride the train because it's a part of life here in the city.
But they will be more cautious when on public transportation.
"Those things happen in the city. I'm bullish on New York," said one commuter. "I don't think the crime is any more difficult than it has been."
"I should be scared, especially as a woman. I carry pepper spray and things on me like that," said another. "You always have to be aware, it's New York."
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact police.
Call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit tips by visiting the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or by messaging on Twitter @NYPDTips.