The NYPD and Columbia University added additional patrols around the campus after a Manhattan man was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a graduate student near Morningside Park on Thursday, a few blocks from the ‘school.
Police say Vincent Pinkney, 25, of Harlem, allegedly stabbed Davide Giri in the stomach while jogging at Morningside Park on Thursday night. Pinkney was awaiting arraignment on Saturday for murder, attempted murder, assault, attempted assault and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Giri, 30, a computer science doctoral student at Columbia, tripped out of the park and collapsed at West 123rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai-Saint Luke Hospital.
Hundreds of mourners attended a Friday night vigil on the Columbia campus to mourn Giri’s death. Giri was originally from Italy and moved to New York City five years ago to pursue his doctorate, and friends have described him as an avid soccer player who also won awards for his teaching at Columbia.
“Even if we didn’t know Davide, it’s easy to imagine him in our minds, since he was from our world: a brilliant doctoral student in an exciting field on his way to an incredible career with extraordinary contributions to the world and one life. We feel so deeply the pain and injustice of this promise of life broken in an act of barbaric violence, ”said the president of Columbia. Lee Bollinger said at the vigil.
Pinkney is also accused of assaulting a 27-year-old tourist who was found stabbed in the stomach on West 110th Street and Cathedral Parkway, less than 15 minutes after Giri’s attack, police said. The man was hospitalized in stable condition Thursday.
Police said Pinkney continued to Central Park where he brandished a knife at another person, who reported the encounter to officers nearby. After walking through the park with the witness, police arrested Pinkney near West 104th Street and Central Park West.
An NYPD spokesperson said they are also investigating whether Pinkney was linked to another stabbing in the area earlier in the week. The New York Post reported that the investigation focuses on the stabbing of a German tourist on Wednesday.
Columbia University’s chief of public safety emailed students on Friday about increased security. The NYPD has an increased presence after 7 p.m. at Morningside Park, and the Parks Department is deploying more screening officers there every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In addition, the university added more foot patrols along parts of Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, and dedicated more vehicle patrols to Morningside Drive and the perimeter of Morningside Park.
“After Thursday’s tragic violence in Morningside Heights, a suspect was quickly arrested. You can expect to see an increase in officer patrols in the neighborhood, ”the 26th arrondissement tweeted Saturday. “The 26th arrondissement continues to be there for the community. Our door is always open to address your concerns.
The attacks point to the murder of Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old Barnard student who was fatally stabbed in a failed robbery at Morningside Park in 2019.