Police: 61-Year-Old Bystander Stabbed During Attempted Robbery Aboard Manhattan Subway

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 61-year-old bystander was stabbed during an attempted robbery aboard a southbound C train near Columbus Circle Saturday morning.

Police said the would-be robber, later identified as 39-year-old Jamel Purnell, first tried to stick up a 28-year-old man as the train was running express from 125th Street to 59th Street around 6 a.m. 

A scuffle between the two men broke out before Purnell then attacked the 61-year-old man, stabbing him three times in the abdomen, according to police.

The 61-year-old victim managed to hit Purnell over the head with a cane as the 28-year-old ran to the conductor to explain what happened. 

NYPD officers were waiting on the platform when the train pulled into the Columbus Circle station and took Purnell into custody. He was charged with robbery, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

Purnell’s neighbor said he couldn’t believe the news.

“I’m still in shock,” he said.

The 61-year-old victim was rushed to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in stable condition.

CBS2’s Erin Logan spoke with his wife, who was very upset and didn’t have much to say.

Logan: “Is your husband OK?”

Wife: “No.”

Logan: “Is he going to be OK?”

Wife: “We just have no comment.”

Other riders couldn’t believe what the victims and fellow straphangers went through.

“I’m sorry for whoever went through that, really,” one man said.

“I would just give my stuff up. If somebody’s threatening me, I don’t know,” a woman added.

Purnell was also taken to St. Luke’s with lacerations to his head sustained during the scuffle.

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