Tragic and shocking news for the Columbia community.
Davide Giri, a graduate student studying at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, and another victim were stabbed near the school’s New York City campus on Thursday, according to ABC News. Giri was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after the attack. He was 30 years old.
The attack occurred in Morningside Park as Giri walked home from practice with his amateur soccer team. The second victim was “found nearby, at the northwest corner of Central Park, and hospitalized in stable condition,” per ABC News. The 27-year-old was later identified by the school as Roberto Malaspina, a “Visiting Scholar” from Italy.
A candlelight vigil (above) was held on campus in remembrance of Giri on Friday. Columbia released a statement on the scholar’s death via Twitter, writing:
“We are deeply saddened to share that Davide Giri, a @CUSEAS graduate student, was killed in a violent attack near campus last night. A criminal investigation is ongoing. We will continue to share updates, including about gathering together as a community, as soon as we are able.”
The university’s president Lee Bollinger also gave his own statement:
“This news is both unspeakably sad and deeply shocking, as it took place only steps from our campus. The University is working closely with NYPD to learn more details of the attack.”
The athlete’s team, NY International FC, also shared a touching remembrance, calling Giri “the nicest and brightest person on the team” and “a big contributor to our successes.” Addressing their fallen teammate as a “legend,” they wrote in part:
“We love you, man, you were a rock in defense and we will play and win for you because this is what you wanted.”
Police have already made an arrest in the case, taking 25-year-old Vincent Pinkney, a suspected gang member, into custody in connection with the attacks. The NYPD claim he “was observed menacing” a third person with a knife nearby. Pinkney was charged with attempted murder, assault, attempted assault and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
The school announced that the NYPD “will further enhance security by temporarily assigning patrol vehicles inside Morningside Park 24 hours a day” following the violent incident. According to ABC News, Giri was attacked not far from where Barnard College student Tessa Majors was also stabbed to death in December 2019. Three teenagers were later arrested for that crime.
What an incredibly awful tragedy. We are keeping Davide and his loved ones in our thoughts, as well as the entire Columbia community during this difficult time.
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