More cops in subways: NYPD announces another underground surge as hunt continues for Manhattan slasher

An NYPD officer patrols Grand Central Station.
Photo by Dean Moses

Police officials said Monday that officers are being “surged” into the New York City subway system, bolstering the legion of cops already patrolling the underground as authorities are apparently hot on the trail of a newfound subway slasher.

According to NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper, the department is working diligently to apprehend the fugitive suspected of slashing three women at two separate Manhattan subway stations on Sunday — two women at the 86th Street-Lexington Avenue station and another at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station. The three women were all reportedly knifed in the upper thigh, causing them to be hospitalized to receive stitches for their injuries.

“The injuries were substantial, fortunately not life-threatening,” Chief Kemper explained, adding that the attacker did not speak to his victims or give any indication why he made the attacks. “There was no dialogue; this was without provocation and with no conversation of pre- or post[-attack].”

Cops are looking for the man they say slashed three female straphangers on Sunday afternoon. NYPD 

This “surging” police response is set to reinforce the daily and nightly patrols that police feel have been instrumental in curbing crime over the last year and comes after a 32-year-old was found dead on a 4 train as it arrived at the 14th Street Station on June 17. The victim was discovered with what Kemper described as puncture wounds to his chest that were not indicative of a knife attack.

This incident was the sixth death to occur in the transit system this year (five of the six cases have been closed.)

Police are also looking for the assailant who stabbed a man during a dispute at a subway station early on Sunday morning — the second violent knife attack on the J line in less than a week.

Overall transit crime still down

Despite these incidents, overall crime in the transit system is down by 6.1%, Chief Kemper said Monday, with felony assaults also down by about 4%. Additionally, stabbing or slashing incidents using a sharp object are down 12% when compared to last year (78 incidents in 2023 and 89 during the same time frame in 2022.)

Still, despite crime reportedly trending in the right direction, the department’s transit guru said he understands that some straphangers may feel uneasy after the series of slashings. In response, the NYPD will trickle even more uniformed officers into the subway system.

“We just surged an additional 80+ resources into the transit system for increased presence, all in uniform,” Kemper told press Monday. “Enforcement in the subway system is up dramatically in every area.”

When amNewYork Metro inquired if the surge was in direct response to the stabbing, Chief Kemper stated that the NYPD has been adding more officers into the transit system over the past year, and that, when incidents like the stabbings occur, department protocol is to put more cops on the trains to combat it.

“We’ve increased police presence and we’ve surged additional police presence in the subway systems starting last year,” Kemper said. “But certainly, subsequent to these incidents we’ve increased that even more, even greater, and that increase is going to remain until further notice.”

Cops work to ID slasher

In regard to the recent slashings, Kemper states that the suspect who struck on June 18 appears to be targeting women of all ages (victims range from 19 to 48 years old). The only thing the three women had in common, Kemper said, was proximity to each other.

“I’m confident that [the slasher’s] identity is going to be obtained shortly,” the chief said. “I’m very confident with that. I’m also confident that he will be apprehended shortly. We have an image that was developed. We have a still image. We also have a video that catches the individual.”

Though the slashings are certainly alarming, Kemper said, they should not paint a picture of the city’s subways.

“We don’t have any other similar incidents connected to these incidents, nor is it indicative of what occurs daily in the transit system. These are highly unusual incidents that occurred over this weekend,” he said.

Police describe the suspect in Sunday’s triple slashing as a man with short black hair and brown eyes who is 5’8″ in height and approximately 220 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white graphic t-shirt, blue pants, black sneakers, and a black baseball cap with the letter “B” in red on the front.

In a statement, NYC Transit President Richard Davey said he is confident the suspect will be caught.

“NYC Transit cameras grabbed good pictures of this perpetrator jumping the turnstile and I’m confident the NYPD will track him down in short order,” Davey said. “When they do, prosecutors need to press for maximum consequences under the law.”

Chief Kemper shared similar confidence in both the suspect’s arrest and prosecution.

“To be quite frank, what occurred over the weekend is concerning and unacceptable,” he said., “and make no mistake about it: the person responsible for these slashes and the individual responsible for that homicide will be apprehended, they will be arrested, and they will be charged with multiple felony charges.”