Davide Giri, a graduate student at Columbia University in New York, was killed in a random stabbing spree Thursday. Police have arrested Vincent Pinkney for the stabbing and are currently investigating what happened. The suspect has not been charged.
According to reports, Giri was jogging in Morningside Park when he was attacked at around 11 p.m. The student was stabbed once in the stomach and then stumbled onto West 123rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue where he was found by New York police officers.
Giri was taken to Mount Sinai-Saint Luke’s Hospital and was later pronounced dead.
Fifteen minutes after the stabbing of Davide Giri, police were notified of a second stabbing that took place at West 110th Street and Cathedral Parkway. An Italian tourist was stabbed this time and according to witnesses, the suspect came up behind the 27-year-old man and attacked him.
The tourist, who was on his first trip to New York City, was taken to the same hospital as Giri and is currently in stable condition. He was later identified as Robert Malaspina.
A witness during the second attack identified the suspect as Vincent Pinkney and police found him at 104th Street and Central Park. Pinkney was allegedly threatening a third man who was walking with his girlfriend. Police were able to detain him before he could hurt anyone else.
Pinkney is allegedly a member of the Everybody Killer gang, which is an offshoot of the Blood gang. The man was convicted of gang assault back in 2015 and spent three years in prison. He has been arrested 11 times, first dating back to 2012, for robberies, assaults, and other alleged crimes, according to police reports.
Police said that at the time of the stabbing, Vincent Pinkney was out on parole for some previous crimes. NYPD officers believe the stabbings were random and that none of the victims knew each other.
Davide Giri was a PhD student at Columbia University‘s School of Engineering and Applied Science. After his death, the University President, Lee C. Bollinger, released a statement mourning the loss of the student.
He said, “This news is both unspeakably sad and deeply shocking, as it took place only steps from our campus. On behalf of the entire Columbia community, I send my deepest condolences to Davide’s family.”
On his personal website, Giri described himself as a “Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at Columbia University, part of the System-Level Design Group. Research interests include architectures and system-level design methodologies for heterogeneous system-on-chip, with particular focus on hardware accelerators.”
He had previously attended universities in Chicago, Italy and China. He started his research at Columbia University in 2016 and was expected to graduate from the NYC campus in May. He was a competitive soccer player and was also trained in classical piano.
Those who live close to the Morningside Heights area spoke about the dangers of the neighborhood. Some said that crime and homelessness had increased in the area, and many are afraid to be in the neighborhood at night.
“It’s always a lot going on over here,” said Nicole Alexander, 51. “When I get home, I stay indoors, because I know how it is.”
While the NYPD continues to investigate the stabbing death of Davide Giri, they are also looking into a connection to a Wednesday night stabbing of another man. According to reports, police believe the two crimes to be committed by Vincent Pinkney.
According to police reports, a suspect fleeing the scene of another stabbing matched a description of Vincent Pinkney. The victim in the Wednesday stabbing was hurt 24 hours before Giri’s death. Pinkney’s father, who police spoke to after the stabbings, said that his son had spent some time in jail, but he didn’t consider the 25-year-old to be violent. He also didn’t know if his son was involved with gang activity.
The investigation into the Columbia stabbing is ongoing.