Police are searching for a homeless man who witnesses say stabbed a woman walking near East 86th Street and First Avenue on the Upper East Side Tuesday morning.
Authorities said the 24-year-old woman was running errands with a friend a few blocks from the salon where she works when she encountered a man armed with a kitchen knife wrapped in a plastic bag.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he tried to take her bag, and when she resisted, stabbed her.
He may also have sprayed her in the face with an unknown substance.
The friend who was with the victim ran into a nearby newsstand, screaming for help.
"She said, screaming, 'Help me, help me, my friend -- somebody stabbed her,'" said store owner Mo Desai, who ran out with paper towels and water.
"She was on the floor, stabbed in the stomach," Desai said. "She was crying."
Co-workers identified the woman as Sabatha Tirado and described her as "a very positive, upbeat person."
The suspect was last seen running west on 85th Street, and is described as about 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches, wearing about 180 pounds. He was wearing a maroon shirt and carrying a backpack.
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