Ballet Dancer and Baby Son Among Victims in Riverside Park Stabbing Rampage
UPPER WEST SIDE — A homeless man went on a stabbing rampage in Riverside Park Tuesday, attacking five people, including a 2-year-old boy and his father, a former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, in an apparently unprovoked attack, police said.
Julius Graham, 43, allegedly used a 6-inch half of a pair of broken scissors to carry out a violent spree that began just before 8 a.m. and spanned from West 62nd to 64th streets, leaving a trail of victims in his wake until a good Samaritan and one of the victims helped subdue him.
Among the victims were James Fayette, 35, a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, who was pushing his 2-year-old son, Luke, in a stroller when Graham approached, said Kelly and the victim's friends.
The 9-minute spree began near West 64th Street when Graham stabbed a 36-year-old woman in the back while she was on a running path, dislocating her shoulder, Kelly said.
Graham headed south, continuing the carnage. He stabbed a 36-year-old man who was walking a dog in the stomach, Kelly said. He then slashed a 32-year-old woman in the neck while she was jogging, leaving her with critical injuries, cops said.
His rampage came to an end when he attacked Fayette, but the dancer fought back despite being stabbed in the chest as he tried to shield his child from the attacker. Graham lunged at the boy, slashing him on the arm, according to Kelly and sources.
"He told me that he was in a lot of pain," said Alan Gordon, national executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists. "He said it could have been much worse. I think he'll be in the hospital for a while."
Gordon, who had stopped by Fayette's hospital room Tuesday, said that the child received a few stitches, but was in good condition.
"He did subdue the guy," Gordon said.
Good Samaritan, Thomas Ciriacks, was out walking his dog when he heard the runner's screams and rushed over to tackle Graham, he said.
"He was lurching about like a zombie," Ciriacks said. "His eyes were crazy."
Ciriacks said he pulled Graham off Fayette and pinned him to the ground until police could arrive moments later, police said.
"He did a good job," Kelly said of the bystander.
Ciriacks was reluctant to take credit for subduing the suspect.
"I'm no hero," he said. "The real hero is the guy with the kid."
Graham was arrested and taken to Bellevue Hospital, sources said. The other half of the broken scissors was stashed in his clothes, cops said.
Kelly said Graham was originally from Texas, but stayed in a Bronx homeless shelter as recently as last week.
He had been given a summons from police from an incident on 137th Street last month, Kelly said. The nature of that incident was not clear.
Tuesday morning's attack came days after a mom, jogging with her 8-month-old son, fought off a man who wrestled her to the ground near Henry Hudson Parkway and 190th Street.
In the struggle, the Washington Heights mom grabbed a bicycle pump from her stroller and bludgeoned her attacker who fled the scene.
With reporting by Emily Frost and Patrick Wall.