MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — Five young women were arraigned Monday on charges related to the stabbing of a Vietnam Vet during a violent melee on a Manhattan subway.
Prosecutors said one of the girls, 19-year-old Stairmeik Driggins, swung the knife during the brawl on a southbound 6 train near 23rd Street just after 6 a.m. Sunday that left 63-year-old Ralph Carnegary with a stab wound in his shoulder.
The fight broke out after Carnegary asked the pack to quite down, police said.
The girls were on their way home from a party in The Bronx when the scuffle erupted, according to family members of the women.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Troy said it was "quite clear" Driggins, charged with felony assault, was the stabber — and that she was "known to carry knives."
Driggins' lawyer, Ikiesha Al-Shabbaz, presented a different version of the early-morning tussle, saying Driggins had no knife — and only jumped into the fray to protect her girlfriend, who had been punched in the stomach by the victim.
"It was mass bedlam," Al-Shabbaz said after the arraignment. "They [prosecutors] don't know who did what."
She also said that Carnegary, a veteran, would be more apt to carry a knife than Driggins, a student at Bronx Community College with no history of violence.
Carnegary has said the women attacked after he complained to a friend that the pack was being too rowdy.
According to a criminal complaint, an unidentified witness held back five other "shouting and cursing" girls that were trying to pummel Carnegary as the train was pulling into the 23rd Street station.
Police arrested a total of eight girls at the subway station and said they found a knife at the scene.
Four of the young women —Martha Bermudez, 17, and Sha-Steva Burdos of Queens; Michelle Rodriguez, 19, from The Bronx and Sheyla Figueroa, 18, of Brooklyn — were hit with misdemeanor riot, assault and disorderly conduct charges on Monday.
Manhattan prosecutors declined to pursue charges against two other women, Shanice Brown, 20, and Kimberly Molina, 20.
There is also one juvenile suspect whose name was not released, police said.
Driggins' father, David Driggins, defended his daughter, saying she's a good kid — who's never been caught with a knife — and she was just with "the wrong crowd at the wrong time" on Sunday.
Driggins is being held on $15,000 bail.
Figueroa was out on $500 bail on Monday.
The other three were being held on bail ranging from $500 to $1,000 and bond ranging from $1,500 to $5,000.
They are all due back in court Aug. 3.