The deadly stabbing of 18-year-old Barnard College student Tessa Majors as she walked in a park near the school’s campus in New York City shocked many in the city, while Majors’ parents criticized the police union official who linked her murder to an attempt to buy marijuana.
The New York Daily News reported a family statement saying, “The remarks by Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins we find deeply inappropriate, as they intentionally or unintentionally direct blame onto Tess, a young woman, for her own murder.”
“We would ask Mr. Mullins not to engage in such irresponsible public speculation, just as the NYPD asked our family not to comment as it conducts the investigation,” the statement continued.
The killing recalls an era decades ago when violent street crime was far more common, says the New York Times, which had nine reporters covering the case.
Also shocking were the ages of two suspects: 13 and 14. “This makes what was already an excruciating tragedy even more painful,” said City Councilman Mark Levine, whose district includes the crime scene. “You now have families on both sides of this horrific crime who are facing devastating loss.”
Majors, a first-year college student from Virginia, was walking through Morningside Park in Upper Manhattan on Wednesday night when three teenagers tried to rob her, police said.
One assailant pulled a knife and stabbed her several times. As the group fled, Majors staggered up a flight of stairs onto the street, where a campus security guard found her. A folding knife with a blade roughly four inches long was found nearby and was being tested for DNA and fingerprints.
Detective Vincent Signoretti said the 13-year-old boy told police that he and two other teenagers had gone to Morningside Park to rob people. The boy told Signoretti that he watched his two friends grab the student, put her into a chokehold and remove items from her pockets.
The boy watched as his friend slashed the young woman with a knife and feathers from the stuffing of her coat came flying out, the detective testified in court on Friday. A second suspect was interviewed on Friday and later released, and the third was still being sought.
Mullins made the claim in an interview with John Catsimatidis on his The CATS Roundable radio show on AM 970.
“What I’m understanding is [she was] in the park buying marijuana,” Mullins said while breaking down the chain of events.
The NYPD had no comment on Mullins’ claim when media reached out, but the statement was slammed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Think of Tessa’s parents, her friends. This is heartless. It’s infuriating. We don’t shame victims in this city,” the mayor tweeted.