UPPER WEST SIDE — The building maintenance worker slashed on West End Avenue Wednesday was attacked by an ex-con gang member who believed the employee had robbed his mom, police said.
Jairo Deleon, 26, lunged at the 51-year-old building worker after a brief exchange and stabbed him twice in the right arm with a kitchen knife at the northeast corner of West 94th Street and West End Avenue at 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.
As the victim tumbled to the ground, the assailant fled north on foot, prosecutors said.
He was stopped by police within a block, on West 95th Street, just east of West End Avenue, where he dropped the 12-inch kitchen knife, according to police and the Manhattan District Attorney.
Deleon, who police said was known to members of the Dominican gang "Don't Play" as "Little Owl," was charged by police with assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.
He has 29 prior arrests, police said.
"In his mind, [Deleon] believed that the victim had robbed his own mother. That never happened," Captain Marlon Larin, the commanding officer of the 24th Precinct, said.
Deleon lives in Brooklyn and visits his mother at Freedom House, the controversial homeless shelter at 316 West 95th Street, where she is a resident, Larin said.
When Deleon approached the victim, who works at a local building, but lives in the Bronx, he asked him whether he had seen his mother, Larin said.
The victim said no, Larin said. Deleon then allegedly stabbed the victim in the arm in an "entirely unprovoked" attack, said Larin.
The victim bled profusely on the street and the sidewalk before paramedics took him to St. Luke's Hospital at about 1:54 p.m. where he was listed in stable condition, witnesses and the Fire Department said.
Police declined to comment on whether the victim had been released from the hospital yet.
Deleon is set to appear in court next on Nov. 18, according to the District Attorney's Office. His lawyer did not immediately return request for comment.