Police say they've arrested a 16-year-old suspect in the slashing of a waiter at a Greenwich Village restaurant last week.
Dominic Howington of the East Village has been charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the attack last week that wounded a waiter's face so badly it required nearly 140 stitches to close, according to the victim.
It's not clear if Howington has an attorney. A woman outside the police stationhouse where he was being held identified herself as his grandmother and said of the waiter who was slashed, "That man punched him in his face, so he got what he deserved."
The 25-year-old victim, Bobby Barbut, told NBC 4 New York partner station Telemundo-47 last Friday that the alleged slasher walked into the Greenwich Village restaurant at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, asking people to sign a petition for his basketball team.
His manager asked to him to get the teen out, so Barbut approached the boy.
"I told him, 'Don't come back here,' and he was like, 'So what do you want to do?'" Barbut recalled. "I'm like, 'You're not doing anything right now, so you should go. He tried to swing at me, he missed, I just knocked him out."
The teenager got up and began screaming at the waiter. He left the restaurant and returned about 10 minutes later and tried to hit Barbut, then pulled out a knife. The manager appeared, and both she and Barbut tried to push the teenager out of the restaurant, ending up near the entrance.
"The dude just lunged the knife and cut my face," said Barbut. "Luckily I moved because if I didn't, he would have cut my forehead to my eyebrown to my chin."
The waiter was in shock and didn't realize he was slashed until his manager pointed it out.
"When I touched my face, I saw blood," he said. "Once I looked in the mirror, my whole cheek just spread."
Barbut was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he got 137 stitches to close up injuries to his face and two stitches to his hand.
He said Friday he is still recovering.
"I feel OK so far, it still hurts, it's still numb," he said. "Just seeing myself in the mirror everyday, knowing I'm alive makes me better."
Barbut said of his attacker, "You know, some people like to act tough for some reason. There was no reason for him to act like that way."
"I hope I have justice. I want justice," he said before the alleged slasher was caught. "I want the person who did this locked up for good. It's not right for people to be doing this."
The slashing was one of the more high-profile cases in a spate of similar crimes in the city this year. Through Monday afternoon, there had been 567 slashings and stabbings in New York City, up from 470 through in the same period in 2015.
Overall, officials say crime has been down in the five boroughs in 2016.