The apparently random slashing of a 16-year-old girl walking to school in Queens Wednesday morning has shaken neighbors as a local politician says the suspect may have struck before.
The victim, an exchange student from China, was walking near 13th Avenue and 146th Street when a man wearing a surgical mask and gloves grabbed her and slashed her neck and cheek with a utility knife before running off, police said.
The stalker was captured on surveillance video following his victim.
The attack has left families in the quiet residential neighborhood frightened.
"I can't fathom this happening to a girl around my age. It scares me. I don't know if I want to walk home for the rest of the winter," said 17-year-old Victoria Castellano, who walks the same block where the 16-year-old was slashed every day.
Castellano's worried mother took time off from work Thursday to pick her up from school.
"I didn't want her to walk the walk," said Barbara Castellano.
State assemblyman Ron Kim said Thursday the suspect may have struck before.
"We've been receiving some calls since yesterday that a similar-looking individual has been harassing females in the neighborhood," he said.
Kim said he has visited the girl, and doctors have told him the attacker missed major arteries but there are still concerns about possible nerve damage and disfiguring scars.
The victim is a student at the Whitestone Academy school and has been in the United States for eight months, police said. Her brother and sister were by her side at the hospital, according to police.
A non-descript police command post kept watch over the area Thursday, around the corner from where the attack happened. But neighbors said they won't feel safe until the attacker is off the streets.
"I hope they find him so we can have safety on our streets," said Barbara Castellano.