Suspect Charged With Slashing Woman In Random Attack In Chelsea
UPDATED 01/07/15 12:37 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man was arrested and charged late Wednesday with slashing a woman in the face while she went to work in Chelsea.
Kari Bazemore, 41, of the Bronx, was charged with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the attack, which happened around 5:50 a.m. Wednesday on 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue.
The incident was caught on surveillance video.
As CBS2's Diane Macedo reported, everything seemed perfectly calm on the video as Amanda Morris, 24, and her attacker come into the frame.
The attacker is seen walking casually west on 23rd street toward Seventh Avenue. Morris eventually passes him, but they don't appear to even acknowledge each other – until he suddenly he lunges at her.
Morris then clutches her face as the man runs away.
After the attack, the dazed victim stumbled into the Malibu Diner, where employee Alex Ramirez was just starting his shift, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.
"She was bleeding a lot. She was crying. She walked in and she said that somebody slashed her in the face," Ramirez said. "She said that she was walking by, going to her job, and then a person came out from out of nowhere."
Police said it was an unprovoked attack. The suspect saw Morris from across the street, came over and assaulted her after she walked past him, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.
Another surveillance camera captured the slasher moments before the attack. He is seen crossing 23rd Street, and then hitting himself in the head as he walks down the sidewalk in the opposite direction toward Sixth Avenue.
The original camera then shows him continue walking east, zigzagging under scaffolding. He does not change direction until he sees Morris coming toward him.
Around 6 p.m. Wednesday, a man who was walking near St. Patrick's Cathedral recognized the suspect from surveillance video he had seen on television, police said. The witness called 911 and began following the suspect, police said.
As the man followed the suspect, he came upon two NYPD mounted officers and told them what was happening, police said. The mounted officers called for assistance, and Bazemore was arrested by Midtown North Precinct officers, police said.
Morris was earlier treated at Bellevue Hospital Center. She received stitches to the left side of her face and her lip, CBS2's Diane Macedo reported.
Late Wednesday, Morris described her experience in a public Facebook post.
"Today was a difficult day that I never thought I would have to go through, I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and put in an unfortunate situation, but I would like to do what I can now to raise awareness. I was attacked by a stranger on my way to work early this morning. I was slashed on my face with an unidentifiable object (thought to be a razor / box cutter)," she wrote. "It was unprovoked and I did not have any association with this man prior to the incident, we have never seen each other before. The NYPD was able to find street footage of the man but we are unable to make out his face at this time."
Morris wrote that she sensed that the man was dangerous upon spotting him.
"I want everyone to know that I did have a bad feeling about this man as soon as I saw him. His walk was irregular and he appeared under the influence by his body language and stance. Always, always trust your gut instincts. Even in a safer neighborhood such as Chelsea you should always stay alert and aware of your surroundings," she wrote. "Had I crossed the street this could have been avoided; never feel that you have to stay in an uncomfortable situation out of politeness/fear/etc."
Morris also posted photos of her injuries on Facebook, CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported. They showed deep cuts above and below her mouth that required several stitches.
Meanwhile, Kristo Tato, who works security at the Center for the Blind down the block, says he was surprised to hear of something like this happening in the neighborhood.
"I've been here for two years and the first time I hear crime here," Tato said. "This area is very safe."
But two employees who work in the building right in front of the crime scene disagree.
"Unfortunately I'm really not that surprised," said John Friia. "There are some seedy people around the area so whether they're drunk at 9 o'clock in the morning something's bound to happen."
"This street in particular I think is a little worse than other ones," said Cali Zimmerman. "Something about 23rd Street in this area does not seem to be the safest.... I don't particularly like walking by myself, but I would never think something like that would happen. But now to think that I could walk out of my office, and just be slashed, is not great."
Police said Morris was on her way to work at the Whole Food store at 24th Street and Seventh Avenue at the time of the attack. But Ramirez said she never made it.
"We try to help her a little bit she went to the bathroom and wash your face, and after that, the blood didn't stop," he said.
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