The accused slasher who cut the face of a 24-year-old woman walking to work in Manhattan early Wednesday morning has been linked to at least one other similar attack, police say.
Kari Bazemore, 41, was nabbed by cops in midtown one day after he allegedly slashed a woman's face on a Chelsea sidewalk. After his arrest, police said they were looking into whether he may be the same suspect in other similar attacks.
Police announced Friday that Bazemore is now charged in a Nov. 11 attack in which he suddenly punched a 43-year-old woman in the face with a blunt object covered in plastic as she was walking on Fifth Avenue, between 55th and 56th streets.
Bazemore has been charged with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon in both instances. He was being held at Bellevue Hospital, and attorney information wasn't immediately clear.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Thursday investigators were also looking into whether Bazemore is the man who slashed a young woman in the face near Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx on New Year's Day.
In that case, 28-year-old Nikki Pagliaro was walking home from the subway when she felt a man shadowing her, according to dailymail.com.
"I noticed there was somebody walking behind me right when I was crossing the street to get to the block where my building is and immediately I'm like, something's wrong and I kept walking," she told the news site.
She said the man stopped in front of her and said, "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you," and then slashed her and ran. She at first thought she had been punched, then noticed the blood.
An arrest has not yet been made in the assault, though Pagliaro told dailymail.com she instantly recognized her attacker in the surveillance video of the Chelsea attack.
"As soon as I saw the video I felt it was too familiar the way that he approached her," she said. "The fact that she couldn't see what the blade was. It's exactly the same approach."
Police sources said Friday they also believe he randomly attacked another woman in December near West 12th Street and Sixth Avenue.
Bazemore, who lives in the Bronx, has 31 prior arrests, mainly for jumping turnstiles and forcible touching, according to Boyce. Because he had no history of violent attacks, he had not been on the police's radar in the Chelsea slashing.
He was caught when a passerby near St. Patrick's Cathedral in midtown spotted him and recognized him from the surveillance images that were broadcast on the news. Bazemore was wearing the same distinctive Cleveland Indians baseball warm-up jacket.
Police quickly responded and took him into custody.
Surveillance video of the shocking attack in Chelsea showed the suspect suddenly lunging at the victim as she walked past him on the sidewalk and punching her in the face with the sharp object, then running away. The stunned, bloodied woman walked into a nearby diner for help.
The woman, Amanda Morris, described the attack to NBC 4 New York: "I thought that my nose was broken and I was freaking out... It felt like being hit in the face with a baseball."
She suffered bruising on her nose and cuts on her upper and lower lips that required seven stitches to close.
Bazemore's family has told investigators he has mental issues, Boyce said.