NYPD and Columbia University have added additional patrols around campus after a Manhattan man was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a graduate student near Morningside Park Thursday, a few blocks from the school.
Police say Vincent Pinkney, 25, of Harlem allegedly stabbed Davide Giri in the stomach as he was jogging in Morningside Park Thursday night. Pinkney was awaiting arraignment Saturday on charges of murder, attempted murder, assault, attempted assault and three counts of a criminal possession of a weapon.
Giri, 30, a PhD student in computer science at Columbia, stumbled out of the park and collapsed at West 123rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai-Saint Luke's Hospital.
Hundreds of mourners attended a vigil Friday night at the Columbia campus to grieve Giri’s death. Giri was a native of Italy who moved to New York City five years ago to pursue his doctorate, and friends described him as an avid soccer player who also won awards for his teaching at Columbia.
“Even if one did not know Davide, it is easy to imagine him in our minds, since he was of our world: A brilliant doctoral student in an exciting field on his way to an incredible career with extraordinary contributions to the world and a fulfilling life. We so deeply feel the pain and the injustice of that life promise breached in an act of barbarous violence,” Columbia president Lee Bollinger said in remarks at the vigil.
Pinkney is also accused of attacking a 27-year-old tourist who was found stabbed in his stomach on West 110th Street and Cathedral Parkway, less than 15 minutes after Giri was attacked, according to police. The man was hospitalized in stable condition Thursday.
Police say that Pinkney continued on to Central Park where he swung a knife at another person, who reported the encounter to nearby officers. After canvassing the park with the witness, police arrested Pinkney near West 104th Street and Central Park West.
An NYPD spokesperson said they’re also investigating whether Pinkney is connected to another stabbing in the area earlier in the week. The New York Post reported that investigation centers on the stabbing of a German tourist Wednesday.
Columbia University's head of Public Safety sent an email to students Friday about increased security. NYPD is posting an increased presence after 7 p.m. in Morningside Park and the Parks Department is deploying more enforcement officers there every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Additionally, the university was adding more foot patrols along parts of Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, and dedicating 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 increased officer patrols in the neighborhood,” the 26th Precinct tweeted Saturday. “The 26th Precinct continues to be here for the community. Our door is always open to address your concerns.”
The attacks evoke the killing of Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old Barnard student who was fatally stabbed during a botched robbery in Morningside Park in 2019.