Crime

Man Who Slashed 71-Year-Old Grandma Faces The Music

| by Zara Zhi
Damon Knowles (pictured) Damon Knowles (pictured)

Damon Knowles, 21, has been charged with slicing a 71-year-old woman in the face on a New York City subway.

The victim and grandmother-of-nine, Carmen Rivera, needed 30 stitches in her face after the attack on the 6 train on Jan. 25.

This is the fourth knife attack in New York City over the past few weeks.

Knowles became a suspect after he was indicted for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest in another incident on Jan. 26, according to Daily Mail.

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Rivera says she did not realize she had been slashed until getting off the subway.

Authorities are still looking for a suspect in the December stabbing of Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, who was carrying groceries down a street in Brooklyn when an assailant stabbed him in the neck.

Hwang describes the ordeal in a piece for the New York Times in which he says, “The police unearthed a surveillance videotape showing my assailant — tall, skinny, wearing shorts and a distinctive backpack — though the angle reveals only the individual’s back.”

Hwang’s slashing was so deep it cut an artery leading to his brain. 

He isn't the only victim of such an unusual, seemingly unprovoked attack, but hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a hate crime.

“… there has recently been an increase in attacks on Asians, including victims being pushed from subway platforms, and targeted assaults on Asian women in Manhattan," he wrote.

Hwang added, "Just two weeks after my incident, a 16-year-old Chinese girl in Queens was slashed on her way to school by an attacker wearing surgical gloves and a mask.”

There have been about a dozen senseless knife attacks since December reported throughout the city, including three subway slashings in one week.

The perpetrators used knives, razors and in one instance, allegedly a machete. All the attacks were carried out by strangers, according to police.

Though police say the wave of attacks are all unconnected and are mostly coincidental.

One theory is that the attacks are “thrill crimes,” where the attacker feels powerful when assaulting a stranger.

“They want to create anxiety, to feel powerful, to laugh at the results,” said criminologist Jack Levin of Northeastern University.

There has been an increase in knife attacks in New York City over the past few months, but police figures don’t differentiate between random and targeted assaults.

On Jan. 6, 24-year-old Amanda Morris was walking to the grocery store where she worked in Manhattan when a man who had been walking next to her abruptly sliced her face and ran off. The attack was recorded by a surveillance camera.

“I felt like I got punched in the face,” Morris told The New York Post. “It was like, ‘Oh, that's weird. Why would someone punch me?’ Suddenly, blood was all over my hands, and I started crying.”

A suspect with an extensive history of arrests was later indicted for the attack. The man has also been suspected of a similar knife attack on a woman in the Bronx on Jan. 1, along with other attacks.

Perpetrators in the slashing cases could be imprisoned for up to 25 years.

Sources: Daily Mail, New York Times, NY Post / Photo credit: Daily Mail

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