NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for a panhandler who stabbed a man with a steak knife inside a restaurant in Harlem.
It happened shortly after 2 p.m. Friday at Pee Dee Steak House on West 125th Street.
Police said the suspect approached the 30-year-old victim and other customers, asking for money.
“He said something to me, I was just like, ‘dude, get away from me, leave me alone, I don’t know you, like stop talking to me,” the victim, who didn’t want to be identified, told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis in an exclusive interview.
He said the man then grabbed a steak knife from someone eating.
“As soon as I saw the knife, it was just like, ‘Woah, what’s going on here? Get this knife out of his hand, get this knife out of his hand,’” he said.
He tried leading the man out of the restaurant to avoid anyone being hurt, but ended up the victim himself.
“Of course I was scared, like damn I got a whole knife in my back,” he said. “He’s talking, he’s doing all of this stuff. Why hasn’t he been moved out of here yet? Why hasn’t the police been called?”
A manager at the restaurant said the suspect also tried attacking him.
“As soon as I saw him threaten me, I called the police right away,” said manager Hector Garcia.
The victim was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he underwent surgery to have the knife removed from his back.
“If somebody asks me for money next time, they might get it. I don’t really want to get hurt man, it’s got me kind of shaky,” he said.
Police described the panhandler as a black man, approximately 30 years old, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 195 pounds, with brown eyes, a close-cut haircut and a burgundy mark on his forehead. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket, yellow scarf, blue jeans and brown boots.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips on the Crime Stoppers Website or by texting them to CRIMES (274637) then entering TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.