Man arrested in stabbing in New York charged with hate crimes

He made derogatory comments about white people shortly before the unprovoked attack on the 14- and 16-year-old girls on Monday morning

By AP

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Published: Wed 27 Dec 2023, 9:43 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 1:23 PM

A New York City man has been charged with hate crimes following the Christmas Day stabbing of two teenage tourists from Paraguay at a restaurant inside Grand Central Terminal, authorities said.

Esteban Esono-Asue, 36, also known as Steven Hutcherson, made derogatory comments about white people shortly before the unprovoked attack on the 14- and 16-year-old girls on Monday morning, according to a criminal complaint.

He was being held without bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty Tuesday to attempted murder and assault as hate crimes, and child endangerment.

According to the complaint, Esono-Asue initially was asked to leave the Tartinery dining area by an employee, who said Esono-Asue responded by saying: “I'll leave, I don't want the white man to get at you,” or something similar.

A second employee said he made another anti-white comment after he approached her and asked for a table to place an order.

“I don't want to sit with Black people. I want to sit with the crackers,” he told the second employee, according to the complaint.

Shortly after he was seated and given water, Esono-Asue walked over to a table of individuals, who appeared to be white, pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed one of the girls in the back, the second employee told authorities.

As the family scrambled to get away, the man stabbed the younger girl in the thigh, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said. Both girls were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Officers quickly arrested Esono-Asue without further incident, an MTA spokesperson said.

The Paraguayan consulate general's office in New York said the office was assisting the family. They were visiting New York City from Paraguay and have requested privacy, consulate Luis Dominguez said Wednesday.

At his arraignment, Esono-Asue was ordered held without bail pending his next court appearance, scheduled for Friday. A Legal Aid Society attorney representing him declined to comment.

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