New York has been hit by another weekend crime wave, which saw a GrubHub cyclist knifed to death while resting at the end of his shift, and two other men slashed by a separate attacker.
Abu Sala Miah, 51, had just finished a shift delivering meals for GrubHub and had stopped by the Sarah D. Roosevelt Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for a rest before heading back to an apartment, when an unknown suspect approached him at around 1 a.m. on Saturday, according to the New York Daily News.
Miah was fatally-knifed as murders in the Big Apple doubled in a week, with eight recorded in NYPD figures for the week ending October 10, up from four for the week ending October 3.
Monthly murders have also spiked by 14.7 per cent compared to last year, with 39 committed so far over the last 28 days, compared to 34 for the same period in 2020.
Surveillance footage shows the victim sitting on a bench at the Sarah D. Roosevelt park in the Lower East Side at around 1am Saturday morning, when a man in a hoodie and a face mask approached him
Those statistics and the harrowing human tragedies such as Miah’s murder come as outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio battles to lure tourists and office workers back to the COVID-ravaged city, and could deter international travelers from visiting when the US finally reopens its borders to Europe on November 8.
The suspect in Miah’s killing, seen on surveillance footage wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a facemask, then grabs a seat next to Miah.
At that point, police report, the suspect stole the e-bike he had purchased about six months ago, leading to a struggle between the two men.
The attacker then pulled out a blade, and stabbed Miah in the stomach and slashed him in the face.
Surveillance footage released by the NYPD on Sunday shows the man then riding off with Miah’s bike, as he tried to chase after him.
Eventually, though, police said, Miah ran back toward the park as he bled out, seeking the help of a Parks Department employee.
Paramedics soon arrived on the scene, and Miah was sent to Bellevue Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The suspect then took a seat next to the victim, who was later identified as Abu Sala Miah, 51
After allegedly stabbing Miah in the stomach and cutting his face, the unknown suspect could be seen riding Miah’s bicycle away as he tried to chase after him
Miah worked as a deliveryman for GrubHub to send money back to his family in Bangladesh. He succumbed to his injuries at Bellevue Hospital
Miah’s death was discovered by his four roommates after they grew worried when he didn’t come home at the end of his shift, and used a ‘find my phone’ app to track him down.
Family members say Miah had been working as a GrubHub deliverer to send money back to his wife, 20-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son in Bangladesh, from where he emigrated out of fear of political prosecution.
‘He was concerned back home because of political reasons, but then he looses his life here,’ his brother-in-law Muhammad Ahsan, who lives in Brooklyn, told the Daily News.
‘He came to this country two years ago for a better life … He just always had that dream to move here.’
Ahsan said his family back in Bangladesh are now calling for answers.
‘They’re saying “How’s this happening there, where people think this is the best country in the world?”
‘We’re just completely devastated at this time, and I just feel bad for his family … I can’t describe right now what they’re going through.’
In a statement, GrubHub spokeswoman Katie Norris said: ‘We are shocked and saddened by these reports, and our hearts go out to the delivery worker and his family.
‘Nobody should have to experience violence or the theft of their property under any circumstances, and we have reached out to the police department to offer our support on their investigation.’
Miah has a wife, a 20-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son in Bangladesh. They are now reportedly asking how such a terrible thing could happen in the United States
Miah’s brother-in-law, Muhammad Ahsan, said crime in New York City is only getting worse
Miah had borrowed money from a friend to buy the e-bike, the Daily News reports, and would often visit the park after his shift to relax before heading to the nearby apartment he shared with four roommates.
They were reportedly concerned about Miah when he didn’t return home Saturday night, and managed to track his smartphone – which was already with the police.
‘It was completely unexpected news,’ Ahsan said. ‘This is very hurtful. He was a friendly and hardworking person.’
He added: ‘People all over the world have dreams to come to this country, to build a future. But look at this, what is happening.
‘What is happening in this city is unacceptable, and everyday it’s getting worse.’
‘The bottom line is New York is not safe anymore,’ he told Pix 11.
‘Every day you hear like, this news, it’s not safe anymore. That’s the bottom line.’
Just about 12 hours after Miah was fatally stabbed, police say, another victim was stabbed at the same park by a knife-wielding bicyclist on a violent spree.
Omar Cartagena, 44, is said to have knifed the parkgoer, 34, at Sara D Roosevelt Park and left him in a critical condition.
He allegedly did so two and a half hours after plunging his knife into a skateboarder’s chest on the nearby Williamsburg Bridge, leaving that man critically-ill too.
Neither of those victims have been named, and both remain in hospital, the New York Post reported.
Cartagena has been arrested and police are investigating.
Just about 12 hours after Miah was fatally stabbed, police investigated a multi-borough stabbing spree across the Williamsburg Bridge
One of the stabbings occurred at the Sarah D. Roosevelt park – the same park where Miah was fatally stabbed earlier in the day
A 34-year-old man at the park was stabbed shortly after 1pm and is reportedly in critical condition at Bellevue Hospital
Police were on the scene at the park to investigate the two incidents
The stabbing spree on Saturday started when Omar Cartagena, 44, allegedly attacked a skateboarder on the Williamsburg Bridge bike path at around 10.30am
Cartagena allegedly stabbed his first victim, a 30-year-old man on a skateboard, in the chest on the bridge’s bike path around 10.30am after the pair got into a dispute.
The victim walked himself to an Urgent Care facility on Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, approximately eight blocks from the stabbing.
He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition.
Then, shortly after 1pm, Cartagena struck again, stabbing a 34-year-old man who was visiting Sarah D Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side – the same park Miah was stabbed at, located about 10 blocks from the Manhattan entrance to the bridge.
The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition. The nature of his injuries remains unknown.
Cartagena then fled the scene, riding his bike back over the bridge and into Brooklyn.
He was arrested around 2.30pm at Havemeyer St. and Borinquen Place, an area where cyclists are said to enter the bridge.
The incident is still under investigation, police told DailyMail.com.
Saturday’s stabbing comes as NYC experiences a spike in violent crime.
About a week ago — on October 8 — an unknown suspect stabbed a 37-year-old employee of the West 14th Street Apple Store in the back, forehead and left arm after refusing to follow the store’s mask policy.
The 21-second surveillance footage released by the New York Police Department shows the heated altercation that led to the guard’s hospitalization.
The suspect punches him in the head as they speak in a corner behind the store’s spiral glass staircase, as seen in the video.
Moments later, he punches an unsuspecting 25-year-old female employee as he reaches for the same security guard. The two struggle and the guard pins the suspect into a corner.
The suspect reaches for something in his pocket, which the guard tries to yank away. The video then cuts to the suspect walking casually out of the store.
During the confrontation, the suspect stabbed the security guard multiple times in the back, forehead and in the left arm.
About a week ago — on October 8 — an unknown suspect stabbed a 37-year-old employee of the West 14th Street Apple Store in the back, forehead and left arm after refusing to follow the store’s mask policy
The 21-second surveillance footage released by the New York Police Department shows the heated altercation that led to the guard’s hospitalization
The video cuts to the assailant walking briskly down the street as he flees the scene
New crime statistics show assaults climbed 18.5 percent and robberies were up 6 percent this September compared to last, as the NYPD reveals it has made more than 3,400 gun arrests so far this year.
Homicides also doubled last week, although killings overall have remained stagnant – with 374 deaths reported through October 10, the same number as last year during the same period, according to NYPD data.
Stark data released by the NYPD this month showed crime rose 2.6 percent overall in September 2021 compared to the same month in 2020, with an extra 243 incidents reported.
Horrific subway attacks and gang-related gun battles are a common occurrence in the streets of the city with some boroughs being ravaged by the crime wave more than others.
Manhattan South recorded the biggest spike in crime (20.1 percent) last month compared to the previous September.
Manhattan North has also seen a rise in crime, up by 3.2 percent in the same timeframe.
Brooklyn South saw crime spike by 5.3 percent, Staten Island by 9 percent and the Bronx – where a terrifying gun fight broke out between gangs last month – by 4.9 percent.
Crime, however, has fallen in some boroughs of the city, down by 4.2 percent in Brooklyn North and down by 5.8 percent in Queens North.
In Queens South, crime fell 3.7 percent between this and last September – even though there were six murders recorded there last month.
Despite the rise in some violent offenses, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea hailed the fall in murders and shootings last month.
Murders fell by 22 percent from 59 in September 2020 to 46 last month, while shootings were down 9.3 percent from 150 to 136 in the same time.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to put a positive spin on the numbers in his press briefing last week.
A map showing the New York City boroughs where crime has increased (in red) and decreased (in green) in September 2021 compared to the same month last year
The mayor touted the rise in gun arrests as an ‘extraordinary success’ rather than a concerning sign of a rise in firearm use.
‘It’s a typical thing out there for certain folks to doubt New York City, or to doubt our ability to make a comeback, or doubt the NYPD, but the facts speak for themselves,’ he said.
‘Even in the most extraordinarily difficult circumstances – total disruption of our society because of a global pandemic, unprecedented – the NYPD has fought back, neighborhood folks have fought back, the city has fought back and we’re seeing it in so many ways.’
He added: ‘We’re seeing the city come back to life.’
De Blasio said things like robbery and felony crime are currently at the lowest rate in the last three decades on a year-to-date basis.
And he noted that things will improve further as the city continues to come back to life – through a return of tourism and workers returning to their offices.
That’s part of his ‘safety in numbers’ theory, where larger crowds of people gathering are likely to deter opportunistic criminals from carrying out attacks.
But tourist hotspots have been at the center of some of the latest violence.
Times Square – known for flashing billboards and bright lights that draw in around 50 million visitors every year – has been the site of three shootings and a horrifying incident where a woman pushed a bystander in front of a oncoming train.
Mayoral candidate and frontrunner Eric Adams has vowed to tackle the escalating violence when de Blasio leaves office.
Adams said his first focus will be cracking down on guns entering the city.
Other plans include the creation of a dedicated, plainclothes anti-gun violence unit in the NYPD.