NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A tourist was stabbed at random steps from Central Park in broad daylight Sunday, and police were still searching for his attacker hours later.
Authorities say they were called to Central Park South near Columbus Circle for reports of a stabbing around 1:20 p.m.
Witnesses told CBS2’s Ali Bauman the area was so crowded at the time that the man was able to stab the tourist in his back, and then nonchalantly cross the street and get away without making a scene.
The victim — who police sources said was a tourist from Brazil — had been standing on the sidewalk alone at the time. He had been taking photos outside 1 Central Park West in Columbus Circle, sources said.
Medics transported the 23-year-old victim to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center with serious, but nonlife-threatening stab wounds to his torso.
Police sources told CBS2 there was no apparent reason the man attacked the tourist. He did not take anything from the man, and afterward just walked away.
Fortunately, some good Samaritans were here to help.
“This homeless came went around him and hit him with a knife in his back, and he go away in the circle,” said witness Ahmed Maher.
Maher watched from inside his food truck and said it happened so fast, he did not realize the victim was injured until he saw the blood.
“We saw the blood in his hand, and the T-shirt cut from this area and is bleeding down here,” he said.
“He looked like he was in shock, but he was pretty calm,” added witness Dan Robillard. “He wasn’t panicked.”
Robillard and his family are visiting from Seattle for the holiday weekend. The violence near Central Park was an unnerving sight.
“We’re staying at a nearby hotel,” Robillard said. “So it’s a little unsettling.”
“It’s actually concerning,” said Montreal tourist Pavl Ivanoff. “I love Central Park.”
“Just got to watch our backs and make sure we’re being safe and looking after our loved ones, like this one right here,” said Orlando tourist Benjamin Magrehbi as he pointed to the woman accompanying him.
Maher and several other food court cooks grabbed napkins and rushed over to try to helping the victim, who stayed calm while visibly in pain.
“He don’t know what happening. He don’t know what’s going on; what happened for him,” Maher said. “He just put his hand on the injury, and we get him some towels to stop bleeding until his ambulance arrived.”
Witnesses told Bauman the victim mentioned he has a plane ticket to Italy this evening.
Investigators have been collecting surveillance images in the area and were still actively searching for the suspect late Sunday.
The suspect was described as a a white male in his 40s, wearing a dark shirt and dark pants.