A female security officer working at a Rockland County library died after getting stabbed multiple times by an attacker, according to law enforcement.
The incident occurred at the Finklestein Library in Spring Valley around 2 p.m., officials said. Officers rushed to the third floor, where they found the victim stabbed with a large kitchen knife and the suspect being held down by other patrons.
The victim, 52-year-old Sandra Wilson, was rushed to nearby Good Samaritan Hospital, where she died from her injuries. Friends and coworkers told NBC New York Wilson had worked security at the library for more than a decade.
"Patrons all loved her, everyone would come in and say hi to her," said library clerk Christine Ball. "She would greet everybody with a smile, a pleasant attitude."
In the hours after her death, those who knew Wilson gathered outside the library for a vigil with candles and flowers in her memory. One of the library employees described what her coworkers witnessed, including Wilson's calls for help in the moments immediately after the attack.
"She said ‘I can't breathe, I can't breathe,’" said Roseline Willis. "My coworker kept saying 'You’re going to make it,’ and she didn't make it."
Police said the suspect, Blanchard Glaudin, tried to escape right after the attack, but several people in the library jumped into action and held him down until police arrived, including a 15-year-old.
Glaudin was taken into police custody. The 25-year-old resident of the town pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges while handcuffed and sporting a bulletproof vest during his hearing Tuesday night.
Neither motive for the attack nor if Glaudin knew Wilson were immediately clear, and an investigation is ongoing. Workers at the library said the suspect had been there several times before.
The library is expected to be closed on Wednesday. Glaudin is scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 24.