A 25-year-old man was brutally slashed to death early Sunday on a sidewalk near Union Square.
Michael Jones of West Harrison, N.Y., was stabbed in the neck and torso at about 4:30 a.m. yesterday. The attack was so vicious his ear was even cut off and later found by police lying on the sidewalk. Police covered up the ear with a plastic cup when they got to the scene, according to reports.
The bloody slashing occurred in a highly-frequented, busy part of town, just off Union Square. The attack happened in front of a Guitar Center, a Levi’s store and a health club on W. 14th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, according to police.
Jones was then transported to nearby Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police described the suspect as an Hispanic man, 25 to 30 years old, with a dark ponytail.
No arrests had been made as of Sunday evening. Sources told the New York Post that a robbery motive was unlikely because the victim’s blood-covered iPhone was found nearby.
Blood from the attack could still be seen on the sidewalk along 14th Street yesterday morning.
Passerby walking to work or out for the afternoon were shocked by the horrific crime.
"It was definitely a surprise when I came in around 9:45," said Ricky, an employee at the Guitar Center where the alleged murder occurred in front of. "There was lots of blood on the sidewalk.”
"I saw a group of firefighters blasting the sidewalk with a big hose," Bob Euler, a bank teller who was walking down 14th Street on his way to work, told Metro. "I noticed that there was lots of redness floating in it. It took a minute, and then I thought, 'Oh my god, that’s blood.'"
Passersby thought it was a prank
People stumbling home from the many bars in the area on Saturday night walked past Jones' bloody, lifeless body crumpled on the sidewalk and at first thought it was an early Halloween prank.
"They all walked past it and thought it was a Halloween figure or something," one witness told CBS News. "We thought it was a Halloween joke or something because his phone was there, so maybe if we tried to get his phone that he’ll pop up or something."
"It was a frenzy. The guy was chopped multiple times," an anonymous police officer confided in the New York Post. "He cut the guy’s ear off. It doesn’t get any more personal than that."
Who was Michael Jones?
Michael Jones was in the city on Saturday until about midnight, enjoying the city with his sister.
He worked as a soccer instructor in upstate Harrison, N.Y., with the Red Bulls Youth Training Program.
The team released a statement Sunday, saying that Jones was "A tremendous individual, a fantastic coach who loved soccer and a terrific friend for many of us."
Carly Baldwin and Miles Dixon contributed.