NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man suspected of slashing a woman in a an apparently random attack in Chelsea was awaiting a court appearance late Thursday, while the victim of the attack spoke out.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, police said suspect Kari Bazemore, 41, of the Bronx has 32 prior arrests for a variety of crimes, according to police.
Bazemore did not speak as he was hauled from the 13th Precinct in Gramercy Park in handcuffs Thursday evening, CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported. He was to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on the charges, but late Thursday, he was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center for a mental evaluation.
His court appearance was not expected to take place before the end of the night.
Sources said earlier, Bazemore spent the day in police lineups with potential victims.
Meanwhile, scarred but resilient, 24-year-old Amanda Morris said the nightmare attack against her should never have happened, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“If he has this record, he shouldn’t be on the streets at all,” Morris said.
It happened around 5:50 a.m. Wednesday as Morris was walking on 23rd Street at Seventh Avenue, police said.
The entire incident was captured on surveillance video.
In the video, police said Bazemore is seen walking alongside Morris when, unprovoked, he slashes her in the face and takes off.
“He was walking ahead of me,” Morris said. “I noticed that his walking pace changed and immediately I was like, ‘Oh no, this isn’t good — he must be under the influence of drugs or just not all there,’ and when he heard me behind him, I could tell that he was, like, waiting for me, kind of.”
All of a sudden, the video shows the suspect pouncing, slashing fast, and running away.
Morris, who was on her way to work, was left with two visible gashes on her face.
“She was bleeding a lot, she was crying,” said Alex Ramirez of the nearby Malibu Diner. “She walked in and she said that somebody slashed her in the face.”
She had to have stitches, but was out of the hospital on Thursday.
“It’s scary,” Morris said when asked what went through her mind upon seeing the video. “My logic was if I look on the ground and I mind my own business, that he’ll leave me alone too. But no.”
Investigators said a man who saw the surveillance video of the attack on TV spotted Bazemore near St. Patrick’s Cathedral Wednesday evening and flagged down two mounted police officers who made the arrest.
“As he’s walking on Fifth Avenue, he sees an individual wearing this jacket, acting somewhat irrationally. He immediately went over and alerted this behavior of this individual to two mounted cops on Fifth Avenue in the 50s near St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. “He was immediately apprehended.”
Bazemore was charged with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the attack, police said.
Bazemore has a lengthy rap sheet, and Boyce said he has been identified in other recent attacks, including one in the Bronx on New Year’s Day. He has not been charged in that incident.
“He took a razor blade and cut another young lady’s face near Bruckner Boulevard,” Boyce said.
Morris was shocked upon hearing about Bazemore’s record.
“Apparently, he had 32 offenses before this – 32 – which is ridiculous,” Morris said.
When Carlin asked Morris if she thought there was something wrong with the system in that Bazemore was out on the street, Morris replied, “Definitely, yeah.”
Bazemore is also suspected of punching a woman on West 12th Street and Sixth Avenue in a random attack on Dec. 30. Officials said he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor in that incident, but was later released.
Morris said she is determined to face her alleged attacker in court.
“I still haven’t seen his face, so I don’t think it’s really going to sink in until I do see his face,” Morris said. “But I’m willing to do that if it puts him behind bars and he’s not able to hurt people anymore.”
Shortly after the attack, Morris shared her story and photos of her injury in a public Facebook post. She said she was heartened by the feedback she has received.
“A lot of messages on Facebook are coming from strangers telling me that I’m very inspirational, and that means a lot to me,” she said.
Bazemore said she would also work to move beyond the attack.
She said she wants “be an inspiration for people who do get hurt, that you can get past it and you can be OK, and I apparently won’t even have scars if they heal properly, so I’ll be fine,” she said.
Bazemore was walked out of the 13th Precinct police station in Gramercy Park in handcuffs early Thursday evening. He was expected to be transferred to court to face a judge Thursday night.