MANHATTAN (PIX11) — A graduate student remained on life support in the hospital on Wednesday night as police, family members and friends tried to piece together what happened to him during a night out in Manhattan.
Jay Reist, a 29-year-old student at Columbia University, suffered a head injury, police said. It’s consistent with being struck by an object or a vehicle, or with a hard fall. Police don’t know if someone assaulted Jay Reist, but mom Louise Reist suspects foul play.
“I think that there was an individual who is, at that moment, was filled with hatred,” she said. “I am concerned that we find this individual. I don’t want this individual to do this to somebody else.”
Her son suffered brain trauma. He’s unable to breathe on his own.
Police can’t confirm Jay Reist was attacked. What they do know is that he suffered his injury sometime between 1 a.m. and 2:13 a.m. on Friday after meeting up with a friend for a drink at the Dream Baby bar in the East Village.
Surveillance video shows him emerging from the subway stairs a dozen blocks away about an hour later, at the corner of West 15th Street and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea. Police confirm Jay Reist then got into an Uber at that intersection in Chelsea, headed to his apartment uptown and had a seizure in the Uber. The Uber driver called 911, and an ambulance brought him to the hospital.
Columbia classmates said Jay Reist is an outspoken and active member of the LGBTQ+ community. They fear he was the victim of a hate crime.
“I and the rest of the Columbia community are immensely distraught over this,” a friend said. “Jay is an incredibly vibrant, thoughtful, caring, supportive human being.”
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).