Two front desk workers at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York were stabbed on 12 March. The suspect, a 60-year-old man named Gary Cabana, entered the museum in the late afternoon and had been previously notified in writing that his membership had been revoked due to two prior incidents of disorderly conduct.
A disturbing surveillance video released by the police department shows Cabana entering through the museum’s cinema entrance on West 53rd Street and jumping over the counter before he stabbed two employees, both aged 24, as a guard hurled objects at him. Other people in the lobby can be seen running out of the museum. Cabana fled the scene soon after.
One worker was stabbed in the collarbone behind the neck and another in the lower back and neck; both were taken to Bellevue Hospital and are expected to recover.
Cabana posted a series of erratic messages on Facebook on 13 March in which he addresses the incident, stating that he was blindsided by his ejection from the museum, and references having bipolar disorder. In a comment below the same post, he claims to be in Florida and threatens to trespass into Mar-a-Lago and “go out with the lights”.
The stabbing happened around 4pm, shortly before a scheduled screening of the 1938 Hollywood film Bringing Up Baby (which some speculate Cabana was there to see). The incident caused a chaotic evacuation of the museum and prompted some to speculate there had been a shooting or a bomb.
According to the police, Cabana was known to museum staff due to the prior incidents that led to his membership being revoked, but he does not have any previous criminal records. MoMA closed on 13 March and will reopen on 15 March, but museum leadership have not released a longer statement regarding the event at the time of this writing.
The police are still searching for Cabana. Under New York law, assault with a knife (considered a deadly weapon) in the first degree is a felony offense that, depending on the person’s arrest record, carries a conviction of around two years in prison, up to a $5,000 fine (in addition to parole fees and other charges) and up to $15,000 in restitution to each victim.