A good Samaritan said that he was stabbed and attacked while trying to defend a woman from the drunken antics of a stranger at the ferry terminal on Staten Island.
After what was his first night in the city since the pandemic began, 20-year-old Dylan Spinosa returned to the ferry terminal on Sunday, where they encountered a man who appeared to be drunk and was harassing women, one of them in particular.
"Every female he passed he had to say something sexual," Spinosa said. "He was telling them how old women have to sell their nudes online, and have to sell their body for money to get by."
Spinosa said that he and a stranger shooed the man away, but he came back.
Get Tri-state area news and weather forecasts to your inbox. Sign up for NBC New York newsletters.
"Now he was practically following this woman who was like, leave me alone, please stop, and he's telling her he's going to do all this sexual stuff to her," Spinosa said.
Once again, Spinosa and the other man intervened. The other man began fighting with the alleged drunk, later identified as Eric Shields, but once Spinosa separated the two, he said Shields attacked him.
"As we were walking away, my friend screamed," Spinosa said. "As I turned, it felt like he punched me."
But it was no punch, as Spinosa discovered that a knife had been lodged in his back. He said the blood from the wound was going down his back, all the way down his leg. He was taken to the hospital, where his mother raced to meet him.
"He said I'm OK, gave me his pink promise," Marisa Spinosa said. "I was proud as a mom that he stepped up, stood up for somebody, that he helped them. It worries me a little too."
The 47-year-old Shields was arrested and faces assault, weapons, menacing and harassment charges. The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force is also looking into possible hate crime charges, as police said that Shields called Spinosa an ati-gay slur possible because he was with friends who were wearing Pride march flags.
Records indicated that Shields has a lengthy criminal history, with three dozen prior arrests.
Despite the gash on his back, Spinosa — who hopes to become a New York City firefighter someday — said he doesn't regret his decision to step in.
"I would absolutely do it again. There would be no hesitation," he said.