Man Charged With Hate Crimes Over Stabbing at New York’s Grand Central Terminal

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
December 27, 2023New York
Man Charged With Hate Crimes Over Stabbing at New York’s Grand Central Terminal
Travelers walk through Grand Central Terminal in New York on Dec. 21, 2023. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP Photo)

NEW YORK—A New York City man has been charged with attempted murder and assault as hate crimes following the Christmas Day stabbing of two teenage tourists from Paraguay at an eatery inside Grand Central Terminal, authorities said.

Witnesses said Esteban Esono-Asue, 36, also known as Steven Hutcherson, made derogatory comments about white people shortly before the unprovoked attack on the 14- and 16-year-old girls inside the Manhattan transit hub Monday morning, according to a criminal complaint.

He was being held without bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty Tuesday to the charges, which also included child endangerment.

According to the complaint, Mr. Esono-Asue initially was asked to leave the Tartinery dining area by an employee, who said Mr. Esono-Asue responded by saying: “I’ll leave, I don’t want the white man to get at you,” or something similar.

A second employee said he made another anti-white comment after he approached her and asked for a table to place an order.

“I don’t want to sit with black people. I want to sit with the crackers,” he told the second employee, according to the complaint.

Shortly after he was seated and given water, Mr. Esono-Asue walked over to a table of people, who appeared to be white, pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed one of the girls in the back, the second employee told authorities.

As the family scrambled to get away, the man stabbed the younger girl in the thigh, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said. Both girls were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Officers quickly arrested Mr. Esono-Asue without further incident, an MTA spokesperson said.

The Paraguayan consulate general’s office in New York was assisting the family, who were visiting New York City from the South American country, consulate official Luis Dominguez said Wednesday.

At his arraignment, Mr. Esono-Asue was ordered held without bail pending his next court appearance, scheduled for Friday. A Legal Aid Society attorney representing him declined to comment.

Earlier this month, Mr. Esono-Asue pleaded guilty to an assault charge and was given a conditional discharge after being arrested for threatening a man on Nov. 7, according to court records.

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