A man wearing a ‘Purge’ mask attacked a stranger with an ax on the Upper West Side Monday night in New York, police said.
The attacker was wearing a grinning Halloween mask from the dystopian horror movie The Purge, about a fictional national holiday when all crime is legal for a 12-hour period.
The 51-year-old victim and his wife were walking on Broadway between West 60th and 61st streets Monday when the masked man ran up to them around 10pm.
‘I don’t like you! I’m going to kill you!’ the attacker shouted before swinging the small ax and hitting the man in the arm.
The masked man then ran off toward the Columbus Circle subway station.
The couple snapped photos of the attacker with and without his mask. They have been circulated by the New York City Police Department.
NYPD released this photo of a man who randomly attacked a stranger with an ax while wearing a Purge Halloween mask on Monday night
A 51-year-old man was left with a deep gash on his left arm after being attacked between W 60th and 61st Street in the Upper West Side on Monday night
The 51-year-old man was sent to Mt. Sinai Morningside with a deep cut in his left arm, police reported. He has since been treated and released.
The NYPD is asking for the public’s help identifying the ax-wielding man who is described as: ‘a dark-skinned male who wore a blue mask, a dark-colored coat, blue jeans and black boots.’
Violent crime has continued to spike in New York City with assaults climbing 18.5 percent and robberies up 6 percent in September. The NYPD reported that it has made more than 3,400 gun arrests so far this year.
Stark data released by the NYPD shows crime rose 2.6 percent overall in September 2021 compared to the same month in 2020, with an extra 243 incidents reported.
It comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio tries to lure tourists and office workers back to the COVID-ravaged Big Apple, with the data likely to deter many over personal safety concerns.
The biggest increase was for felonious assault – or assault with a dangerous weapon – which surged by a shocking 18.5 percent from 1,802 in September 2020 to 2,135 in September 2021, as New Yorkers have been plagued by random attacks in the streets of the city.
The latest crime data shows 17,153 reported from January through October 2018, 17,652 in the same timeline in 2019, 17,492 in the same months in 2020, and 18,433 so far in 2021.
The September data also reveals a concerning trend in other criminal activity, with robberies up 6 percent, car theft up 4.1 percent and grand larceny up .7 percent within the same timeframe.
Violent crime has continued to escalate in New York City, with total crime up 2.6% in September 2021 compared to September 2020
The most recent NYPD data shows felony assaults rising 8 percent since last October
Over the last year, New York has been rocked by a wave of violent crime, fueling fears it is returning to the dark days of the ’70s and ’80s when murders were rife and the Big Apple earned the nickname Fear City.
This prompted former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take the unprecedented step of launching the nation’s first ever state of emergency over gun violence in July.
But now, the situation appears to be getting worse with a staggering 393 gun arrests made last month alone, bringing the total number of gun arrests to 3,425 between January and the end of September.
This is a dramatic increase of 20.9 percent from the same period in 2020 when 2,832 gun arrests were made.
Last year, the city and the nation was reeling from COVID-19, civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd and political turmoil in the run-up to the presidential election.
Now, COVID-19 restrictions have almost all lifted, the US borders are poised to reopen to major tourist destinations and Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to lure back office workers to the city.
Historic crime data shows how crime fell from the 1990s and has inched up in recent years
Yet, violent and horrific subway attacks and gang-related gun battles are still a common occurrence in the streets of the city.
Some boroughs have been ravaged by the crime wave more than others, with Manhattan South recording the biggest spike in crime (20.1 percent) in September compared to the September 2020.
Manhattan North, where Monday’s attack occurred, also saw a rise in crime, up by 3.2 percent in the same timeframe.
Brooklyn South saw crime spike by 5.3 percent, Staten Island by 9 percent and the Bronx – where a terrifying gun fight broke out between gangs last month – by 4.9 percent.
Crime has, however, fallen in some boroughs of the city, down by 4.2 percent in Brooklyn North, 5.8 percent in Queens North.
In Queens South, crime fell 3.7 percent between the two months – even though there were six murders recorded there last month.