Stabbing Death of Columbia University Student Linked to Gang
A gang member with a lengthy rap sheet has been arrested for fatally stabbing a Columbia University student.
According to reporting by the NY Post, the man – now identified as Vincent Pinkney — started his rampage by killing the male grad student; he then injured a tourist and threatened another man with the same blade near the Manhattan campus before being apprehended.
The terrifying 15-minute stabbing spree started when Columbia grad student Davide Giri, 30, was knifed in the stomach in Morningside Park just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 2; police sources told The Post.
Giri, who is from Italy, stumbled out of the park and collapsed near the corner of West 123rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, where he was found by cops. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai-Saint Luke’s Hospital.
The second victim — a 27-year-old Italian tourist who had only arrived in the city a day earlier — was found with stab wounds to the torso at West 110th Street and Cathedral Parkway 15 minutes later, law-enforcement sources said.
Witnesses told cops the suspect had approached the male victim from behind and knifed him in the back before fleeing, sources said. The tourist was taken to the same hospital as Giri in a stable condition.
Pinkney has 11 prior arrests dating back to 2012 for robberies and assaults, as well as other alleged crimes, police sources said. He is on post-release supervision until 2022.
He is allegedly part of the Bloods gang off-shoot, Every Body Killas, according to the Post.
He was convicted of gang assault in 2015, joining three other people in pummeling a man and repeatedly slashing him in the face on Linden Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, two years earlier, according to a criminal complaint.
The victim needed 20 staples to close a gash on the back of his head and another 25 stitches for a large cut from his right eye to the right ear, according to the complaint.
Pinkney served three years of a four-year prison stint, according to state Department of Corrections records.
The NYPD is now investigating whether a third stabbing attack inside Morningside Park 24 hours earlier is linked to the recent frenzy, according to sources.
In that attack, a man was stabbed in the neck just after midnight on Wednesday, and the suspect – who sources say matches the description of Pinkney – fled the scene.
Pinkney clammed up to cops when caught, refusing to speak and asking for a lawyer, law-enforcement sources said. Detectives were seeking a search warrant to test for the victims’ DNA on his clothing, sources said.
Investigators also are reviewing other recent, unsolved, unprovoked attacks in the area to see if the suspect may be responsible for them, too, sources said.
The suspect’s father confirmed to The Post that the 25-year-old has “spent some time in jail” – but claimed he wasn’t “known to be violent at all.”
“I don’t really know if he’s involved in gang activity. I really don’t know where he hangs out,” the father said, adding he hadn’t seen him since earlier on the day of the stabbing spree.
Giri, the slain victim in the brutal attack, had been returning to his apartment near campus after a soccer match with his team, NY International FC, when he was stabbed, friends told The Post.
His teammates called Giri a “pillar of the club” as they paid tribute to him on Twitter Friday, saying, “Davide was the nicest and brightest person on the team.”
The fatal stabbing occurred just a block from Morningside Park, where Barnard student Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death in a botched robbery in December 2019.
Giri had traveled the world and came to the US to study in 2013. He did a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago before settling in the Big Apple.
Giri was a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Columbia when he was killed, according to his website.
“He was a quick learner and very curious. He was also a very warm and friendly person, always the soul of the party and ready to go out and have fun,” Giri’s longtime friend, Mattias Mengoni, told The Post.
“He really liked New York,” Mengoni said of his late friend. “He found it welcoming and multicultural. He was very accepting of all people from all backgrounds, and New York was giving that to him.”
A neighbor who lives across the street from where Giri was found told The Post the area isn’t safe at night.
“I have lived here 25 years, and this is as unsafe as it has ever been,” Yolanda Ramos, 69, said.
“Violence and homelessness around here has worsened ever since [Mayor] de Blasio opened the jails. It’s open season.”