MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — A man wearing a ninja outfit, complete with a samurai sword, allegedly slashed a straphanger who three years ago left rice cookers in Manhattan subway stations, according to law enforcement sources.
Though sources described the man as wearing a ninja outfit, police later released a photo of a man in a black shirt and baseball hat. He also wore headphones around his neck. It was not immediately clear if the man had changed outfits at some point.
The suspect struck Larry Griffin II in the head with the sword sheath near the Park Place and Church Street station on Thursday at around 9:30 a.m., sources said. Griffin suffered a laceration to the head. He was later treated and released from the hospital.
“You know the first thing I said was, man – New York, New York. It’s a little insane. I only get concerned for my wife. It’s getting a little crazy every day – and more creative. And not in a good way,” said subway rider Tim Butler.
The suspect and the victim were fighting on a northbound A train when the incident occurred, sources said.
Police describe both the suspect and the victim as EDPs – or “Emotionally Disturbed Persons.”
The suspect – presumably for wielding a samurai sword on a subway train.
Cops labeled Grifin, the victim, an EDP following his arrest in August 2019. Griffin set off a panic in the city when he was caught on video dropping off rice cookers in the Fulton Street subway station during a busy morning commute, officials said at the time. All the devices were ultimately deemed safe.
Griffin was found a few days later in the Bronx and charged with placing a bomb. He was banned from the subway system for life, so he could be facing charges in Thursday’s incident, sources said.
The president of subway rider advocacy group Passengers United says this latest incident underscores the need to address a mental health crisis plaguing the subway system.
“About two years of this crime wave going on. And this is the breaking point. People have just had enough. When I last spoke to you, I said we needed 400 social workers. I’ve been begging the elected officials. They keep telling me it’s ok for the homeless to sleep on the subway. Maybe for one day, but day two or three comes, and they become anti-social, and they get off their medications, that’s when it becomes an all-out crisis down here,” said Charleton D’Souza.
The suspect in the ninja outfit has not yet been apprehended.
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).