Three New York City subway riders were slashed in separate incidents within 12 minutes of each other early Friday morning — and the head of the city's transit system is blaming Mayor Bill de Blasio for "negligence" in the matter, WABC-TV reported.
What are the details?
Police told the station the attacks began at 4:25 a.m., when a 44-year-old man was slashed in the face on a southbound 4 train at the 14th Street Union Square station.
Minutes later, a 40-year-old man was slashed in the face at the Astor Place subway station, WABC said, adding that a 41-year-old man — possibly trying to help the victim — was punched during the incident.
At 4:37 a.m., a 44-year-old man was slashed in the back of the head in a robbery, the station said.
All the slashing victims were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, WABC reported.
Who are the suspects?
The suspects are described as two black males in their 20s, the station said, adding that police are working on linking two people being questioned in regard to the attacks and isolating video of them in the hopes of releasing it later Friday.
A fourth incident is also under investigation as possibly connected to the other attacks, WABC said.
At 5 a.m. a 48-year-old homeless man made contact with police and said he was on a northbound D train overnight when he was jumped by three men, the station reported.
The man said one attacker stabbed him once in the right eye and once in the left side of his neck and his cheek, WABC said, adding that he suffered two slashes on his back.
The station said the man is in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital where detectives were interviewing him. He lives at a homeless shelter at 161st Street and Park Avenue in the Bronx, WABC said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's 'negligence'
NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg called out de Blasio in the wake of the attacks, in particular his "negligence," the station said.
According to WABC, Feinberg said all the attacks "seemingly could have been prevented by a uniformed presence on each of these platforms. The responsibility for these vicious attacks does not fall on an already strapped police department. It falls on City Hall and the individuals who are taking advantage of the mayor's negligence on the issue. If he needed a wake-up call, this is it. Enough is enough. The mayor is risking New York's recovery every time he lets these incidents go by without meaningful action."
What did the mayor's office have to say?
The station said Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for de Blasio, issued the following response: "New York City is surging over 500 officers on top of a 2,500-strong transit force to fight subway crime. The city has pulled cops off desk duty and put them on platforms and trains. We're going to keep putting massive resources into this fight to keep our subways safe. Meanwhile, the MTA sends out statements that point fingers and talk about mayoral politics. Get with the program; help us fight back this crime."