Attack in Riverside Park by homeless man with scissors

Attack in Riverside Park: A deranged homeless man attacked five people, including a toddler in Riverside Park, New York City, on Tuesday.

An apparently homeless, emotionally disturbed man went on a rampage with scissors along a busy bike path on Tuesday, slashing or stabbing five people, including a 1-year-old boy.

The victims — the child plus two women and two men in their 30s — were expected to survive, though one of the women was listed in critical condition.

Witnesses heard screaming and a child crying at about 8 a.m. in Manhattan's Riverside Park along the Hudson River near West 65th Street, an elegantly landscaped stretch of greenery flanked by luxury residential high-rises.

After the surprise attack on a sunny fall morning, police officers grabbed a suspect and took him into custody.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly identified him as Julius Graham, a 43-year-old Texas native who had been living in a Bronx shelter. Kelly said he used half a pair of scissors in the attack.

According to the police commissioner, Graham first approached a jogger and stabbed her in the back. Police said he also attacked a man walking his dog, then a woman running along the path, stabbing her in the neck.

Finally, Graham attacked a man pushing his son in a stroller, Kelly said. Graham stabbed the man in the chest as he faced the attacker to protect his son and slashed the boy in the arm, Kelly said.

Graham was taken to a hospital for evaluation and couldn't be reached for comment.

Witnesses say that bystanders intervened and held the attacker down until police arrived.

A New York City Park Advocates spokesman, Geoffrey Croft, called the attack the latest episode in a "troubling trend" of violence in city parks.

He noted that a mother pushing a stroller along the Henry Hudson Parkway in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan was attacked by a homeless man last week. At least two bicyclists were attacked a week apart in August along the Hudson River around 163rd Street, and two other people were slashed south of 60th Street a month earlier, Croft said.

Croft said the advocacy group has been calling for more park enforcement for years. He said there are 80 security officers patrolling the city's parks, with another 80 recently hired. In the 1990s, there were 450 parks security officers, he said.

When asked about the spate of attacks, the police commissioner said city parks are "very, very safe." He said that although authorities are concerned about the recent crime, "the amount of incidents of crime in parks is minuscule."

Jason Santos, a biker from Queens, said he wouldn't use the bike path as much because of the most recent attack.

Edlin Pitts, a Manhattan resident who uses the path daily, said he had been cognizant of safety at night, "but this happened during the day, and I'm concerned."

Yellow police tape and park security on Tuesday closed access to the path. All that was left from the attack was the child's abandoned stroller.

___

Associated Press writer Ula Ilnytzky contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.