An argument about a face mask led to violence at a retail store in Manhattan on Friday, reports claim.
ABC 7 in New York reports that a security guard was stabbed at an Apple Store on West 14th Street around 6:30 p.m. Friday evening.
The suspect, who has not been identified, was reportedly attempting to enter the establishment without a mask when the security guard asked him to mask up to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to The Hill, New York City currently requires patrons of businesses to don face coverings while inside regardless of their vaccination status.
A verbal dispute ensued over the mask request, and it quickly devolved into violence.
Suspect still at large
Reports indicate that the suspect pulled out a sharp object, described by ABC 7 as a “cutting instrument,” and stabbed the security guard twice, once in the left arm and once in the forehead.
The security guard, a 37-year-old man, was taken to Bellevue Hospital is expected to survive, reports said.
The suspect, meanwhile, was said to have fled the scene of the crime before police arrived and remains at large. Authorities have said the suspect is a 20-year-old Black male who is about five-and-a-half feet tall and who was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black shirt, and a black mask.
As for the security guard, a witness told ABC 7: “I saw him when they took him out on a stretcher, two paramedics followed by about five or six policemen, but I did see cops running in and running to the back.” Other store employees described feeling “rattled” by the incident in a video shared by a reporter with NBC New York.
NEW AT 11: A security guard was stabbed at the Apple store on W 14th in Chelsea. Police believe an argument over the mask requirement is what led to the stabbing. Suspect is still out there. @NBCNewYork pic.twitter.com/MfqwWSETqf
— Jessica Cunnington (@jesscunnington) October 9, 2021
Spike in violent crime
According to the Daily Mail, the incident comes amid a spike of violent crime in the Big Apple.
“New crime statistics show assaults have climbed 18.5[%]” in New York City this year over last year, “and robberies were up 6[%] in September as the [New York City Police Department] revealed it has made more than 3,400 gun arrests so far this year,” the Daily Mail reported Saturday.
The outlet also said crime rose 2.6% overall in New York City from September 2020 to September 2021, with “Manhattan South recording the biggest spike in crime,” at a whopping 20.1%.