Two employees at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City were stabbed Saturday afternoon while working at the museum by a disgruntled patron whose membership had lapsed. Photo courtesy Alyssa Katz/THE CITY
March 12 (UPI) -- Two employees at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City were stabbed Saturday afternoon while working at the museum by a disgruntled patron whose membership had lapsed, police said.
The 60-year-old man, whose identity has not been released, had tried to enter the MoMA around 4:15 p.m. on Saturday and presented his membership card to the workers but was denied entry because his membership had expired.
"His membership had expired as a result of two incidents involving disorderly contact at the museum on two separate dates in recent days," John Miller, the NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counter-terrorism, said during a press conference.
"He became upset about not being allowed entrance, then jumped over the reception desk and proceeded to attack and stab to employees of the museum multiple times."
The man had stabbed the two workers in the back, in the collar bone and in the back of the neck, Miller said.
The man, who recorded leaving the museum, has not yet been caught and the victims were rushed within minutes to Bellevue Hospital where they received immediate care.
"We were told that they were both going to be okay, which is important," Miller said. "The individual involved in this incident is known to us and we are endeavoring to locate this individual right now."
Miller said that the suspect, who is described as a White man, was wearing a black jacket and a colorful patterned shirt with a blue surgical mask.
"He was never an employee of the museum," Miller said, refuting initial reports that the suspect was a disgruntled former employee. "But he is a member of the museum in that members of the public can obtain a membership and he is known to the employees here because he is a regular."
Miller noted that the man had a letter revoking his membership had been mailed on Friday but that he still had tried to gain access to the museum to see a film at the museum's theater. It was not immediately clear if he was expecting to have the issue arise or not.
A top editor with The City, a New York local news publication, said on Twitter that she went to meet friends at the museum when she saw crowds of people fleeing.
"I just spoke with witnesses visiting from Cannes, France. They saw someone stabbed in the underarm on the first floor," Alyssa Katz tweeted.
The New York City Office of Emergency Management advised people to avoid the area as emergency workers closed traffics in the bustling Midtown neighborhood.