Damon Knowles, 21, was arrested in connection to the Jan. 25 slashing of 71-year-old Carmen Rivera on a Manhattan subway. His crime is the latest in a string of subway slashing attacks that have left New York City authorities concerned.
Rivera, a Brooklyn grandmother of nine, was riding the D train to Manhattan in the early morning when a stranger allegedly stumbled by her and then suddenly gripped her face with both hands.
The stranger reportedly pressed a razor to her cheek, cutting a 4-inch gash.
“I didn’t even realize he was cutting me,” Rivera told New York Daily News. “It didn’t hurt because he didn’t hit any nerves. I didn’t even realize until the guy told me, ‘Hey you’re bleeding.’”
The stranger then fled from the train.
Rivera told authorities she had been attacked by a light-skinned young man wearing a distinctive red sweater, black jacket, red sweatpants and black sneakers. Police combed through security video and found a match.
Police say the stranger was Knowles, who was picked up by authorities on Jan. 26 for on a domestic assault charge for allegedly attacking his girlfriend. The girlfriend's grandmother, having seen the security video of Rivera’s attacker on television, recognized his outfit. She informed police that Knowles was the slasher, New York Post reports.
He has been charged with assault with intent to cause disfigurement, assault with intent to cause serious physical injury and trespassing for the incident with his girlfriend.
The gash on Rivera’s face required 30 stitches, New York Daily News reported.
“I see all this on TV,” Rivera told New York Daily News. “You never think it’s going to happen to you. He was so calm sitting down like everyone else.”
There have been 273 assaults with a blade in New York since Jan. 1, 2016. This is a 14.7 percent increase from 2015, creating a mood of unease in the city’s transportation system. Knowles is not the only slasher in the news.
On Jan. 26, an unidentified man told a 29-year-old woman “I will chop you up on this train” before slicing her hand. The victim has since received medical attention, Gothamist reports.