The police are looking for a man suspected of stabbing two Key Food employees, one of whom died at a hospital two hours after the afternoon attack. Other employees at the East Village store say James Gonzalez, a part-time maintenance worker, stabbed ex-girlfriend Tina Negron with a 10-inch knife, because he was upset over their breakup.
Negron had been in the elevated manager's booth when Gonzalez apparently attacked. Bookkeeper Rosheda Andradas was also in the booth and was stabbed multiple times as well. One shopper told the Post about the frightening event:
"I heard the commotion and screaming coming from the office," said a shopper who had a clear view from the store's dairy aisle. "As I was staring up there, the door smashed open and this guy came running down the stairs...He had an enormous knife, a machete-style knife. He came bursting down the stairs really fast, wielding the knife, and he just ran out of the store."...
"I didn't want to become a victim of the knife," she said. "I backed away...I heard crying and screaming coming from the office. Then it was quiet."
Negron was taken to Beth Israel Hospital, where she died of her wounds. Andradas is in serious condition at Bellevue.
The store's night manager told the NY Times when the attacker fled, "When he was running, in the middle of the street, the knife went flying." He also said that right before the attack, Gonzalez "used profanity in telling her to 'get that smile off her face,'" prompting a customer to intervene, "but Mr. Gonzalez had words with that man...and chased him out of the store Another employee overhead Gonzalez arguring with Negron, "I heard him saying, ‘You want me to smack you in your face?’"
Other employees said, "We called him Crazy James," and ""He always looked kind of crazy to me...He didn't have it all together up there." Police say Gonzalez, who has a rap sheet of drug and assault arrests, had lived in a Bronx rooming house. Some employees told the Daily News he also lived in the Key Food basement and "[swiped] food from the hot buffet."
One of our readers emailed us:
"I'm really busted up about the Key Food stabbing yesterday. It's a great neighborhood store and most everyone in the Lower East side knows it as the place to go to get reasonable priced groceries - it's the sane alternative as opposed to "Whole Paycheck Glam Food Emporium". The checkers are all pretty down to earth ladies and I'm sure this is just horribly stunning to them. Maybe there is someone taking some contributions to cover what is sure to be some really high hospital bills? The real people of the East Village have just lost two full-on stars. Have you heard any more info?"
We haven't, but if any of you have, please let us know in the comments. We called Key Food to see if they were starting a fund, but the woman we spoke to said, "We're still trying to process this."