Worker describes violent, unprovoked slashing inside Washington Heights deli: 'We were terrified'

CeFaan Kim Image
Saturday, April 13, 2024
Exclusive: 'Terrified' employee recounts violent attack inside deli
CeFaan Kim has the exclusive story from Washington Heights.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- An employee who fell victim to a terrifying and unprovoked attack inside a deli in Washington Heights, described the violent encounter that left him and his friend injured.

It happened at a deli on 161st Street on Thursday around 11 p.m.

The random, unprovoked slashing was caught on surveillance video.

Footage shows a man in a hoodie instigate a dispute with a cane. The man he's provoking is 71 years old.

A man in a blue shirt, a deli employee, then tries to intervene. The suspect then swipes at the 71-year-old with a box cutter.

Jose Navarro was the deli employee who stepped in.

In an exclusive interview, Navarro told Eyewitness News what the video did not capture.

Navarro says the 71-year-old is his friend, and that the suspect took, not one, but three swipes at his friend's neck.

The first two times, the box cutter blade was retracted. The third swipe cut his friend's neck.

Navarro says the assailant swiped at his face too, but he ducked. He blocked a second swipe with his right arm, but the third swipe got him, leaving a cut on his left forearm.

Navarro says he and his friend were terrified. They had never seen the suspect before. He never said a word to them before or after the attack.

Navarro says the assailant seemed mentally ill.

Police say the suspect was wearing a green jacket over a gray hoodie, had white sneakers, and a cane.

Both victims refused medical attention.

Police say the suspect fled on foot westbound down 161st Street.

He's described as about 50 years old, and about 220 pounds.


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