Andrea Grymes, CBS New York, February 27, 2021
Salman Muflihi, 23, is now facing attempted murder as a hate crime, sources say. He was originally charged with attempted criminal negligence homicide, assault, forgery and possession of a weapon.
Police said the 36-year-old victim is fighting for his life in critical condition. The victim was last reported to be in a medically induced coma.
After the attack, Muflihi allegedly turned himself in to the district attorney’s office and confessed, police sources said.
Muflihi allegedly said he didn’t like the way the victim looked at him.
CBS2’s Andrea Grymes spoke exclusively with Wellington Chen, a witness to the attack.
“It could’ve been any one of us,” Chen said.
Surveillance video shows the 36-year-old Asian victim walking when his attacker runs up behind, police say, and stabs him.
“Who would’ve thought that somebody would come up to you out of nowhere, stab you,” Chen said.
Police are calling the attack unprovoked, saying no words were exchanged. They believe the suspect is emotionally disturbed.
“This is very upsetting. We have been seeing so many more attacks on Asians. This is a hate crime. I don’t care how you say it,” Jenny Low, Democratic district leader in Chinatown, told CBS2’s Cory James.
The NYPD said as of Sunday, there have been two prior hate crime incidents this year, but they’re only classified as such when words are exchanged. Last year, there were 29 incidents, including 24 that were believed to have been motivated by COVID-19. In 2019, there were only three anti-Asian hate crimes.