Police cleared a Midtown church on Monday as part of their ongoing hunt for the man accused of stabbing two people at the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday.
The search for the suspect, 60-year-old former Broadway usher Gary Cabana, led police to evacuate congregants from the St. Francis of Assisi’s Church on West 31st Street. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed that no suspect was found at the location, and the search remained ongoing.
Shortly before noon on Monday, a bystander reported that a man matching Cabana’s description had entered the church wearing brown pants, a gray hoodie and carrying a white plastic bag, police sources told Gothamist. The officials requested anonymity as they were not authorized to speak for the department.
Several police vehicles and ambulances arrived soon after, shutting down the block to pedestrians.
The search was called off roughly an hour later. An officer at the scene said it was unclear if Cabana had escaped or if the call was a false alarm.
Cabana is accused of hopping the counter at the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday afternoon, then stabbing two 24-year-old employees in the back and neck. Both employees were hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries.
The grisly incident came one day after Cabana’s membership to the museum was revoked over two prior instances of “disorderly conduct,” according to the NYPD.
Friends interviewed by Gothamist said Cabana had suffered from mental health struggles that worsened during the pandemic, and had engaged in alarming social media behavior in recent months.
As police called on the public to help locate the attacker, social media accounts that appeared to belong to Cabana took credit for the crimes and taunted police for failing to apprehend him.
“I should’ve been caught on 5th av in front of ALL THE RICH PEEPS. They would have [been] so proud of their police,” one post from Sunday night read. “But instead the Morons searched an empty museum…”
Tourists who witnessed the police surround the church Monday expressed alarm.
"You wouldn’t see any of this around the streets in Ireland,” said Rachel Curran, 23. “So we were just kind of shocked by it.”