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Man indicted for East Village random slashing, attack on taqueria worker

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on July 8 announced the indictment of a man for two violent sneak attacks last month in the East Village. Both assaults came from behind the victim — braining a restaurant worker and randomly slashing a man at the Astor Place Plaza.

Steven Johnson, 35, was charged in a State Supreme Court indictment with one count of attempted murder, plus felony assault.

Police listed Johnson’s residence as the E. 30th Street Men’s Shelter on First Avenue in Kips Bay.

“As alleged, Steven Johnson attacked a restaurant employee just one day before slashing a pedestrian who was sitting in a plaza,” Bragg said. “My thoughts are with the victims as they heal from their extensive injuries. Those who harm and threaten the safety of New Yorkers will be held accountable.”

Steven Johnson, charged with attacking an East Village restaurant worker and slashing a pedestrian at Astor Place, appears at his arraignment in New York State Supreme Court on Mon., July 9, following his indictment the previous day. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, on June 5 around 12:45 p.m., Johnson was lying in front of and partly blocking the doorway of Birria LES, a taco place at 34 St. Mark’s Place, between Second and Third Avenues. An employee at the Mexican restaurant recognized Johnson from a similar prior encounter, asked him to leave and called 911. While the worker was on the phone with dispatchers, Johnson came up from behind and whipped him in the head with a metal bike chain, causing “significant bleeding” from a laceration that required stitches at Bellevue Hospital.

The next day, June 6, Johnson was removed from the Union Square subway station after sitting in the middle of the platform and blocking pedestrian traffic. Minutes later, around 5:15 p.m., Johnson snuck up behind a man sitting at a table at the Astor Place pedestrian plaza and slashed him with a sharp object from his right ear to his left shoulder.

Johnson then fled to the subway station at E. 14th Street and First Avenue as bystanders aided the victim, who was rushed to Bellevue Hospital. The victim underwent surgery and is facing permanent scarring.

On the afternoon of June 8, Johnson was arrested at the subway station at E. 86th Street and Lexington Avenue wearing the same clothing as in the two prior incidents.

The attempted murder charge applies to the alleged slashing.

D.A. Bragg thanked police for their work on the case, including especially Detectives Kevin Dwyer, Vladislav Abramov and Danielle Venuto of the 9th Precinct Detective Squad.

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