NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The victims continued to recuperate Wednesday, following the bizarre slashing of five people – including a toddler – in Riverside Park South on the Upper West Side.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, Julius Graham, a 43-year-old homeless man who appeared to be emotionally disturbed, was taken into custody after the stabbing incident in broad daylight Tuesday near Riverside Drive in the west 60s.
Police said Jessica Lipps, 32, was attacked. James Fayette, 34, was slashed, and his 18-month-old son also had his left arm slashed. Lipps and the little boy were treated and released; Fayette was listed in in stable condition as of Wednesday.
Ben Loehnen, 35, was stabbed in the abdomen, and Deanna Koestel, 36, was stabbed in the back while jogging. Both of their conditions were listed as stable as of Wednesday afternoon.
CBS 2’s Slattery caught up with the Fayette family Wednesday. Little Luke was not only home the day after incident, but his grandfather had him in a stroller for an afternoon walk.
“He’s fine. He’s doing good; he’s a tough little boy,” said Doug Ringer. As for the arm that the suspect slashed, Ringer said his grandson “might favor it a little bit, but he’s OK.”
Jenifer Ringer, Luke’s mother and James Fayette’s wife, echoed her own father’s comments.
“Luke is probably doing the best of all of us,” she said. “He really bounced back. He’s running around and making us kiss his boo boo. He’s great.”
During Tuesday’s melee, the child was protected by his father, Jim Fayette, who remained hospitalized Wednesday with a chest wound. Jenifer Ringer said her husband was also improving, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“My husband is much better. He got out of the ICU today so he’s in a regular room. We’re very grateful,” she said. “He’s able to get up a little bit, so he’s doing much better.”
Graham has been charged with five counts of assault and criminal possession of a weapon. As of Wednesday, he was still under evaluation at Bellevue Hospital.
Thomas Ciriacks, 49, was walking his two dogs when he witnessed Graham’s alleged rampage, and brought him to the ground.
He said he witnessed the suspect attacking a woman.
“He made a slashing motion across her throat — I still didn’t see a weapon; didn’t see anything like that, but it was apparent that it was serious,” he said.
Ciriacks says he ran to pass off the dogs’ leashes to someone else. Then, he and the biker distracted the man.
“He was lurching, like very zombie-esque, you know? Something wasn’t right about him. His eyes were clearly crazy,” Ciriacks said. “He let go of the woman, she ran, and he started coming towards for me.”
He said at that point, his dogs got frantic and the man moved away. But it wasn’t over – the suspect then attacked victim Fayette and his 2-year-old son.
“I heard the screaming from behind me, which was the man with the child,” Ciracks said. “We pulled him the guy off of the man with the child.”
Ciriacks said he then held the man down to prevent further attacks.
“I stood on his arms, on his head a little bit, and kicked the scissors,” he said. “It was half of a scissors. That was the first time I saw the weapon.”
Ciriacks said he was not a hero. Rather, victim Fayette deserves the title, he said.
“The man with the kid is the hero. He, of his own volition, came to the aid of this jogger with me and my dogs. That guy is the hero, and he paid for it. That guy’s is the hero, and he paid for it. He’s the hero,” he said.
Jenifer Ringer said it is a miracle that everyone survived, and she is eternally grateful to the Good Samaritans like Ciriacks who collared Graham until police arrived.
“I would like to thank him,” she said. “He saved my husband and child’s life.”
She said people like Ciriacks are the ones who give her family the courage to walk out the door again.
“Bad things happen in this world but, we have to you know continue living our lives and living it to the fullest,” she said. “We don’t want to let this get us down.”
Regardless of who is the hero, everyone agrees it could have been worse had the suspect not been stopped.
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