Attack in Riverside Park: Ben Loehnen, Deanna Koestel, and Jessica Lipps Stabbed

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
October 1, 2013 Updated: October 2, 2013

Ben Loehnen, Deanna Koestel, and Jessica Lipps were identified as three victims of an attack in Riverside Park on Tuesday.

Loehnen, a senior editor at Simon & Schuster, was walking his dog in the park when he was attacked.

Loehnen thought that he had been punched but saw blood and realized he had been stabbed.

Loehnen remains in the hospital after the attack but “is said to be doing well after surgery,” said Michell Johnson, a literary agent, on Facebook on Wednesday.

Deanna Kostel, a 36-year-old attorney with Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, was jogging when she was stabbed in the back.

She underwent surgery following the stabbing, reported CBS. There is no word on Wednesday about her recovery.

Jessica Lipps, 32, was running along the bike path in the busy park when she was stabbed in the neck. She was treated and relesaed.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The two other victims were James Fayette, a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, and Fayette’s two-year-old son Luke.

James remained in the hospital Tuesday night in serious but stable condition after being stabbed in the chest while Luke was released in the afternoon with a bandage on his arm, where he’d been slashed.

Police apprehended Julius Graham, 43, a homeless man originally from Texas, and believe that he was behind all the stabbings. Graham was staying at a shelter in the Bronx. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center for a mental evaluation.

Thomas Ciriacks was walking his dog in the park, heard screams, and rushed over. He tackled Graham and pinned him on the ground.

“He was lurching about like a zombie,” Ciriacks said. “His eyes were crazy.”

Meanwhile, a sanitation worker, Shurita Fields, called 911 after a victim sprinted to the Department of Sanitation facility on West 59th Street.

“She was screaming,” Fields said of the victim, “and was holding a coat over her neck. She told me she was stabbed. She was hysterical, crying.”

She ran to the scene to give the victims first aid.

Kelly wanted to emphasize that parks are mostly safe, despite the crimes that happen.

“Parks are very, very safe,” he said. “We see something like this happen and it concerns everybody, we understand that. But the amount of incidents of crime in parks is minuscule.”


James Fayette, Former Dancer, 1 of 5 Stabbed in New York City

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.