Cops Searching For Suspect; Anyone With Info Asked To Call 800-577-TIPS

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect remained on the loose late Tuesday evening, after stabbing a teenage girl nearly a dozen times just steps from her front door in the Woodhaven section of Queens.

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As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, Natasha Martinez, 17, remained at Jamaica Hospital after undergoing surgery for stab wounds to her back, arms, stomach and kidney.

Martinez was walking home from work alone around 11 p.m. Monday when a man came up behind her on 85th Street and plunged the knife into her repeatedly.

“She’s in the hospital in really bad condition, you know,” said Natasha’s mother, Wendy Martinez.

As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, a surveillance video shows the stabbing suspect moments before his act Monday night, strolling along wearing a hoodie.

“She don’t bother nobody — minds her own business — and this is what you do to her?” a neighbor said.

Outraged neighbors gathered at the scene Tuesday night.

“It’s not a violent environment,” said neighbor Edwin Martinez. “You know, people don’t get stabbed and shot here. It’s a nice neighborhood.”

Following the stabbing, Wendy Martinez found her daughter stumbling into their apartment near the crime scene in Queens on Monday night, and crying out.

“I think the guy saw her and stabbed her with a knife, like 10 times,” Wendy Martinez said.

Several neighbors earlier said they heard Natasha’s cries.

Natasha Martinez was stabbed repeatedly on July 29, 2013. (credit: Image via CBS 2)

Natasha Martinez was stabbed repeatedly on July 29, 2013. (credit: Image via CBS 2)

“I think she was screaming help or something,” said witness Christopher Lopez.

“Then all of a sudden, I heard the screams get louder and I said, ‘Let me take a look,’” said witness Teddy Betancourt, “and it was the girl’s mother, holding her up, screaming — looked like she passed out.”

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However, many in the neighborhood said they did not know something had happened until police knocked on their doors.

“We’re the neighbors usually outside hanging out late at night,” said witness Louis Bell. “We see this girl coming home every day at that time. She goes home; she leaves and comes back.”

“It makes me nervous,” another woman said. “I was out just before this happened.”

Before running away, the bold attacker dropped his knife. Crime scene tape left behind on neighbor Esmeralda Griffin’s stoop served as a reminder of the frightening scene.

She said the hooded man could be anyone.

“It’s a busy neighborhood,” she said. “You have the train station on 85th Street — people are coming from work. There’s always traffic coming down.”

The surveillance video is brief, only showing the suspect sauntering along before the attack, But investigators hope it will jog someone’s memory.

Louis Bell saw the victim before the attack, but didn’t notice anyone else around.

“It’s outrageous,” he said. “It gets me mad, because I was out there and didn’t see it. That’s what gets me more mad.”

An intense search for the attacker continued Tuesday night.

“We don’t have an arrest and we don’t have a motive at this juncture,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Investigators Tuesday had only a vague description of the suspect, who is described as a black male, approximately 5-foot-6, last seen wearing a white T-shirt, police said.

Police said Natasha Martinez did not know her attacker. She was expected to survive her wounds, CBS 2 is told.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 27463 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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