A man who was denied entry to the Museum of Modern Art because his membership had been revoked stabbed two women working at the facility on Saturday.
The attack, which unfolded shortly after 4 p.m., sent patrons running for the exits.
Both women were taken to Bellevue Hospital, and their injuries were not life-threatening, sources said.
“I’m going to get hazard pay!” joked a blood-covered woman, as she was led into an ambulance.The 60-year-old suspect, who is known to police, was initially believed to be hiding in the museum. The building was evacuated but a police search came up empty. He was subsequently seen on video recordings leaving the building, said John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism.
Miller said the man presented a membership card and tried to get into the building, but was denied entry because his membership had been revoked.
His membership was nixed as a result of two separate incidents involving disorderly conduct at the museum in recent days, Miller said, adding, “A letter revoking his membership went out yesterday, and he showed up today with the intention of attending the film that was being played.”
He was a regular at the museum and employees recognized him, he said.
“He became upset about not being allowed entrance and then jumped over the reception desk and proceeded to attack and stab two employees of the museum multiple times.”
The women were stabbed in the back, collarbone and back of neck, he said.
Miller said the man is under investigation for two prior incidents in Midtown, which he did not detail. “That’s how he’s known to the department,” he said. “Beyond that, he does not have an extensive record or any arrest record that we are aware.”
Dozens of people who had been in the museum when the stabbing took place posted on social media that they were ushered out of the building by security, with no explanation.
Tourist Wendy Keffer, from Austin, Texas was entering the museum with her husband and kids when the mayhem began.
“As we were about to walk inside, we saw hundreds of people running out all at once,” she said We heard people saying ‘shooter, shooter, shooter.’”
Unfounded reports that there was a shooting frightened her son, Lane, 12.
“Everyone was yelling ‘shooter, shooter shooter’ so I just covered my head,” the shaken boy said. “It was the scariest moment of my life. I had just gotten into art and I wanted to see the ‘Starry Night,’ that’s why I came down here.”
“I’m still not over it,” Lane added.
Connecticut resident John Sanchez, 33, had just arrived at the museum with his girlfriend. “We were going up the escalator to our first exhibit and there was just a crowd of people running towards us,” he said. “Once you see people running you think let me head the other way. It was hectic.”
“You just always expect the worst with people running like that.”
“We were trying to see Salvador Dali and we got nothing,” Sanchez said, still holding his ticket.
The stabbing was an “isolated criminal incident,” a spokeswoman for Mayor Adams said.
The Mayor later tweeted that he was briefed on the incident, noting the two women are expected to survive. “We’re grateful for the quick work of our first responders,” he said.The museum did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
People are losing their minds — in the worst way.
we were evacuated at the MoMa, two people were stabbed pic.twitter.com/vRAFOOoxMR
— Natalie Palacios (@nattpalaci) March 12, 2022