NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 30-year-old man managed to survive a violent – and apparently unprovoked – slashing attack in the East Village this past weekend.
CBS2's Hazel Sanchez talked exclusively with victim Anthony Smith, who said the attacker seemed to come out of nowhere.
"I think it's probably some random deranged person, because he didn't steal anything," Smith said. "He just attacked me."
Smith, of Newark, New Jersey, was left with a long gash from his right ear to his mouth – after he said a stranger slashed his face as he walked on East 6th Street between Second and Third Avenues, CBS2's Valerie Castro reported.
"I had my earbuds on. I wasn't listening. I was playing on my phone and walking ahead," Smith said. "And someone – probably from behind – just shoved me against the wall, and cursed, and you know, I kind of fall to the ground. I'm looking up to see who it was. It looked like an Asian gentleman. He looked like he had a razor or something in his hand, and then he just went off. He didn't even really run," Smith said. "And as I got up, I realized I was bleeding all over."
The attack happened around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, as Smith was on his way to have lunch with a friend. Police said the suspect cut the right side of the victim's face from his ear to his mouth, 1010 WINS' John Montone reported.
The social worker was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he underwent plastic surgery to repair nerve damage to his face. The suspect also cut Smith on his back, and his coat might have prevented more serious injuries.
"My leather jacket has a gash about this big in it," Smith said. "So I was very fortunate."
On Monday afternoon, police were back at the scene looking for witnesses and any possible information that could help them track down the slasher.
"There was no conversation; no anything beforehand. It just happened out of the blue -- the damn strangest thing," Smith said. "I hope they catch him soon, because he's a danger."
Witnesses describe the suspect as an Asian man in his 20s or 30s, 5 feet 3 inches tall and approximately 150 pounds, wearing a dark coat and skull cap.
Police released three surveillance images late Monday.
Many in the neighborhood said they feel safe most of the time and aren't worried.
"Every once in a while, you'll find a shady character, but for the most part this neighborhood is pretty safe, and I trust that the police will probably find him," one person said.
"I feel pretty safe, but that's awful," another said.
Smith underwent eight hours of plastic surgery, and his doctors said he may regain the ability to smile by this summer, Sanchez reported. He was expected to be admitted to the hospital later Monday.
The attack comes two weeks after a 24-year-old woman was slashed while walking to work in Chelsea. Kari Bazemore, 41, of the Bronx, is charged with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon in that incident.
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