The suspect accused of killing a Columbia University grad student and stabbing an Italian tourist appeared in court on Sunday and was held without bail.
Vincent Pinkney, 25, was charged with murder, attempted murder, assault and attempted assault.
Judge Neil Ross, presiding over New York Criminal Court in lower Manhattan, heard that Pinkney had been arrested 11 times since 2012, and was free on parole at the time of Thursday’s frenzied attack.
Davide Giri, a 30-year-old PhD candidate in computer science died around 11pm on Thursday after police say he was stabbed in the stomach by Pinkney, who allegedly went on to wound an Italian tourist, Robert Malastina, 27, outside Central Park before ‘menacing’ another man, 29, with a large kitchen knife as the victim strolled the park with his girlfriend.
Pinkney is a member of Bloods gang off-shoot, Everybody Killas and was out on parole for a 2015 gang assault, police said.
Vincent Pinkney, 25, is seen in court on Sunday in lower Manhattan, where he was held without bail
Pinkney is seen being escorted into Manhattan Criminal Court on Sunday, after spending the night in an area hospital for psychiatric evaluation
Pinkney was wearing a white Tyvek jumpsuit – similar to the one he was seen wearing on Friday, when he was transferred from the 26 Precinct to Central Booking
Pinkney is pictured in court, seen through perspex barriers on Sunday
He was released from prison in June 2018 after serving a four-year sentence for a brutal attack in which he and three accomplices slashed, punched and kicked a victim in an assault that was caught on camera, according to the New York Post.
On Friday night, Pinkney was transferred from the 26 Precinct to Central Booking, wearing a white Tyvek jumpsuit.
He was still wearing the jumpsuit when he was in court on Sunday.
The five-foot-five, 140-pound suspect was escorted in handcuffs by two burly NYPD detectives.
Shocked Columbia students gathered on the school’s central quad for a candlelight vigil on Friday honoring Giri – a sixth-year doctoral student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Pinkney, 25, was escorted into NPYD Central Booking on Friday night after he was arrested and charged
Pinkney is a member of Bloods gang off-shoot, Everybody Killas, who has at least 11 prior arrests dating back to 2012 and was out on parole for a 2015 gang assault, police said
On Friday night, Pinkney was transferred from the 26 Precinct to Central Booking, wearing a white Tyvek jumpsuit. The five-foot-five, 140-pound suspect was escorted in handcuffs by two burly NYPD detectives
Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil held for Columbia University graduate student Davide Giri on Friday in New York City
Davide Giri, 30, (right) a PhD candidate in computer science at Columbia University, died after being stabbed in the stomach by Vincent Pickney (left)
Pinkney reportedly moved south on his stabbing spree, moving from Morningside Heights to Central Park
The fatal stabbing of Giri took place just a block away from where Bernard College student Tessa Majors, 18, was viciously stabbed to death in December 2019 as violent crimes continue to rise in New York City.
Columbia University President Lee Bollinger wrote in an email to students: ‘I write with great sorrow to share the tragic news that Davide Giri, a graduate student at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was killed in a violent attack near campus on Thursday night.
Davide Giri was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead
‘This news is both unspeakably sad and deeply shocking, as it took place only steps from our campus. On behalf of the entire Columbia community, I send my deepest condolences to Davide’s family.’
Police said Pinkney has a lengthy rap sheet that includes robberies and assaults and other alleged crimes.
He was previously convicted of gang assault in 2015 and served two years of a four-year sentence in jail before being let out on parole, according to state Department of Corrections records.
Police said Giri was the first victim of the stabbing spree and was attacked just before 11 p.m. on Thursday at 123rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, in Morningside Heights.
Giri, a Brooklyn resident and Italian native, was stabbed on his way to his apartment after playing in a soccer match with the NY International FC, the New York Post reported.
He was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
One Columbia student told the Daily News that Pinkney had been howling in joy after he knifed Giri and moved on to the second victim.
‘He was ecstatic,’ the student said.
Giri had traveled the world, studying in Torino, Italy; Shanghai, China; and Chicago before settling in the Big Apple for his doctoral degree at Columbia.
‘He really liked New York,’ Giri’s friend, Mattias Mengoni told the Post. ‘He found it welcoming and multicultural. He was very accepting of all people from all backgrounds and New York was giving that to him.’
Bollinger said the university is working with the NYPD to learn more details about the attack.
‘These are moments when being in a community really matters. I, therefore, encourage you to seek out and be with others, who will need you as much as you need them,’ Bollinger wrote to students.
Hundreds attend a candlelight vigil held for Columbia University graduate student Davide Giri. Giri was traveling home from soccer practice when police say he was stabbed in the abdomen by a gang member
Giri was murdered a few blocks away from where 18-year-old, Barnard College student, Tessa Majors was fatally stabbed in December of 2019
Vincent Pinkney is seen leaving the 26 Precinct in Manhattanville and headed for Central Booking on Friday
Detectives escort Pinkney out of the 26 after questioning him there in the murder and stabbing spree
Police said Pinkney has a lengthy rap sheet that includes robberies and assaults and other alleged crimes
Investigators said Giri was attacked at 11pm on Thursday just outside the university’s historic NYC campus
Police continue to investigate the fatal stabbing, which occurred a block from where Tessa Majors was killed in 2019
The NY International FC soccer team wrote on Twitter, ‘There on no words to describe how we are feeling. Last night, after practice and while going back home, our lovely teammate and pillar of the club, Davide Giri, was fatally stabbed. Davide was the nicest and brightest person on the team.’
The Columbia student who witnessed the second stabbing told the Daily News that Pinkney ran up to Malastina and stabbed him in the back and chest as the tourist cried, ‘Why? Why? Help me!’
The third man allegedly terrorized by Pinkney was walking by Central Park with his girlfriend when the gang member began threatening them with a large kitchen knife. The couple fled the scene and called police.
Police officials have said the attacks appeared to be unprovoked and conducted at random.
Although murders in the Big Apple have fallen by 0.7 percent compared to last year, from 436 to 433, overall homicides have soared by 42 per cent since 2019.
Felony assault have also shot up in 2021 by more than 9 per cent, from 19,046 to 20,776 so far this year. Robberies also saw an increase of 3.7 per cent, with 12,318 reported.
Rapes rose from 1,329 to 1,357, an increase of more than 2 per cent, and the number of shooting victims also went up from 1,724 to 1,725.
Overall crime in New York City has gone up by 3.14 per cent so far this year.
The attacked took place near the Columbia University campus on Amsterdam Avenue, in Morningside Heights
Columbia University tweeted out a message about Giri’s death as they continue to work with police investigators
David (seen in white) played for the NY International FC soccer team. He was on his way home from a game when he was killed
Giri (left) was an academic who studied in Italy, China and Chicago before deciding to work on his PhD at Columbia
Rising crime: NYC has seen an explosion in the incidences of violent assaults, murders, robberies and muggings in the past two years. Overall crime this year has gone up by more than 3 per cent
Giri’s death was reminiscent of the violent stabbing of Tessa Majors, who was killed by a gang of teenagers in Morningside Park on December 11, 2019.
Prosecutors said that Rashaun Weaver, 16, Luchiano Lewis, 16, and Zyairr Davis, 14, were looking to mug someone when they went to Morningside park, where they spotted Majors
Lewis was charged as an adult despite being 14 at the time of the murder and was sentenced to nine-years in prison this October after Justice Robert Mandelbaum noted that the teen lacked remorse.
Lewis was also sentenced to 40 months to 12 years on the robbery count. It is unclear if the sentences will be served concurrently or consecutively.
Weaver, the alleged knifeman who Lewis said stabbed Majors, has pleaded not guilty and was also charged as an adult.
Davis was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile hall for his part in the homicide.
Tessa Majors, 18, a Bernard College student, was stabbed to death as teens mugged her at Morningside Park in 2019
The park lies in Morningside Heights between the Bernard College campus and Columbia University Campus