A graduate student at Columbia University was stabbed to death Thursday night in New York City's Morningside Park, the same park where Barnard College student Tessa Majors was fatally stabbed almost two years ago to the day. The New York Times reports that Davide Giri, 30, was about two blocks from his apartment when he was attacked and stabbed in the abdomen shortly before 11pm, per friends and police. Giri was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Police say they have a suspect in custody, 25-year-old Vincent Pinkney, who sources say is a known gang member with a long list of arrests and who was out on parole after four years in prison for gang assault, per CBS New York.
Police say that Pinkney also attacked a 27-year-old tourist from Italy a few blocks away shortly after he stabbed Giri. That man, stabbed in his torso, isn't believed to have life-threatening injuries. And a third man, Gregory Johnson, tells CBS that Pinkney threatened him as well, but that he wasn't attacked like the other two men and was able to help cops track down the suspect. Police say the attacks appeared to have been unprovoked. They also say they don't believe the victims knew each other and that the motive is unclear, per PIX11. In a letter Friday, Columbia President Lee Bollinger called the news of Giri's death "both unspeakably sad and deeply shocking," per the Times.
The university held a vigil on Friday night for Giri, a classical pianist who played soccer competitively and was going for his PhD in computer science. He'd been set to graduate in May. "Davide was the nicest and brightest person on the team," his soccer teammates said in a Friday statement, per the Times. "We love you, man, you were a rock in defense and we will play and win for you because this is what you wanted." Pinkney was charged Friday with murder, assault, attempted murder, attempted assault, and criminal possession of a weapon. School officials, meanwhile, say they'll be increasing safety patrols in the neighborhood around Columbia's campus. (Read more Columbia University stories.)