What you need to know
- Two female employees of the MoMA were stabbed inside the Manhattan Museum on Saturday
- Police said the suspect was a former museum member who was denied permission and had a reception desk to attack workers.
- Both employees were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries, police said
Two staff members working at The Museum of Modern Art were stabbed Saturday afternoon, prompting the Midtown Manhattan Museum to evacuate and search for a suspected attacker.
NYPD investigators say they know who the suspect is: a 60-year-old man and a former member of the museum. He was accused of trying to gain access to the museum to see a movie, but was denied because his membership was canceled a day earlier for re-disturbance, officials told a police press conference.
Police said he jumped on the reception desk and repeatedly stabbed two female staff as he was not allowed to pass through the entrance to the museum. The incident took place at 4:15 p.m.
Emergency workers rushed the two victims to Bellevue Hospital, where they were being treated for life-threatening injuries, police and fire officials said.
The video showed the man leaving the building and police knew in which direction he fled. He was described by police as a regular at a museum and well known to staff. They also said he was wearing a black jacket and a blue surgical mask.
Dozens of people left the museum as authorities moved to control the display of videos posted on social media.
The museum was packed with visitors during the winter blizzard late Saturday when the attack took place. Among those inside was David Dujerko, a visitor from Chicago.
“Suddenly they said ‘museum is closed’ and people started running. There was a little panic on the escalators and then they started shouting ‘get out, get out for your own safety’,” Dujergo said.
A spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams tweeted two hours after the stabbing, announcing that he had been described as “appearing to be an isolated, criminal”.
People were advised to avoid the area near West 53rd Street and 6th Avenue, while police responded and closed the scene.