A man carrying a hunting knife crept up behind an 8-year-old boy playing a video game at a restaurant, put a hand on his shoulder and plunged a 4-inch blade into his back five times as witnesses watched in horror, police said Saturday.
The boy suffered a punctured lung in the bizarre and unexplained assault just before 8:30 p.m. Friday in a Long Island shopping mall. He was hospitalized in stable condition and is expected to recover.
The attack happened at Dave and Buster's, a family friendly chain restaurant that includes an arcade.
After the boy staggered, bleeding, to his mother, his father and a witness to the assault grabbed the suspect as he walked toward a restroom and held him until officers arrived, police said.
Authorities identified the suspect as 23-year-old Evan Sachs of Merrick. He was to be arraigned Saturday on charges including attempted murder. Police recovered the knife at the scene.
The attack baffled investigators. Nassau County Police detective Lt. Kevin Smith said it appeared to be entirely unprovoked. Neither the child nor his family knew Sachs and they lived in different towns. The suspect appeared to have chosen his victim at random, he said.
Asked whether Sachs had exhibited any signs after his arrest suggesting that he was mentally ill, Smith said he couldn't comment.
The boy is expected to be in the hospital for several days. The blade missed his heart and doctors were hopeful he could recover without extensive surgery.