NY slasher attacks after shouting earthquake is end of world

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 24, 2011 6:09 PM
NY slasher attacks after shouting earthquake is end of world

By Ray Sanchez

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A naked slasher attacked his neighbors in a New York apartment building, killing one and wounding four others after shouting that the East Coast earthquake marked the end of the world, a victim's family said on Wednesday.

Hours after the temblor shook his building in Washington Heights on Tuesday, Christian Falero, 23, stripped naked and banged on neighboring apartment doors, stabbing anyone who answered, police said.

"He was shouting, 'The world is going to end! I want to die!'" said Edwin Rivera, 65, whose 85-year-old mother was stabbed eight times by the suspect. "He was saying the world was ending because of the quake. The guy was bugging out."

Falero injured four people and killed Ignacio Reyes-Collazo, 81, before stabbing himself, police said. He was charged with murder and robbery.

Rivera, who lives down the hall from his mother, said he saw the naked, knife-wielding suspect through his apartment door peephole. He tried calling his mother, Isabel, but did not reach her in time.

Isabel Rivera, who was cut in her face, chest and leg, was in stable condition at Harlem Hospital, relatives said. She was scheduled for surgery on Thursday.

"My grandmother tells me that the man with the knife said the world was going to end and that he (was) ready to die," said the elderly victim's granddaughter Giovanna Rivera, 32, who was visiting her at the hospital.

The stabbing spree occurred more than two hours after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit at 1:51 p.m., rattling the U.S. East Coast and sent tremors as far as Canada.

Police said Reyes-Collazo died from stab wounds to his head and chest. His wife, Margarita Reyes-Collazo, 75, was recovering from stab wounds at a New York hospital.

Another victim, who was not identified, was hospitalized in critical condition with stab wounds to the chest and eye.

A fourth victim, a 22-year-old woman who was punched in the face outside building, was taken to Harlem Hospital in stable condition.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)