Daily News reports:
A dream engagement weekend turned into a nightmare for a 23-year-old Washington State groom-to-be when a man randomly stabbed him in the back of the head in Midtown, sources said Monday.
Connor Rasmussen managed to pull the knife, which was near the base of his neck, out of his head and escaped without serious injury after the attack at 46thSt. and Madison Ave. about 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, police sources said. He needed eight stitches to close the wound, Rasmussen said.
“Initially, I didn’t know that I had gotten stabbed,” Rasmussen told the Daily News.
“I was so confused. I felt the handle of the knife and I pulled it out. I then checked for blood and immediately put pressure on it.”
He said his attacker said nothing during the assault.
“Honestly, he looked shocked that I wasn’t on the ground,” said Rasmussen, of Puyallup, about 40 miles south of Seattle. “I was very lucky. This kind of happens in big cities. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live, and I just happened to be in New York.”
Rasmussen joked that his assailant might have been angry that he was wearing a New England Patriots jersey.
“I couldn’t tell you what was in that guy’s mind,” he said. “I’m a huge Patriots fan, and I hope that’s not enough to do that to me.”
Rasmussen was in Manhattan to spring a surprise marriage proposal to the love of his life, Jordan Asher, 22. He proposed to her Friday on a rock in Central Park overlooking Wollmann Rink — with 11 family members and friends who had flown in just to witness the moment.
“It was really scary to get that phone call (at her hotel about the stabbing) and have to comprehend everything,” Asher told The News. “Before that, it was the best weekend of my life. I think God was watching over us and Connor, and we’re happy to be able to move on exactly how we came.”
Sources said Rasmussen was walking with a friend, Stephanie Riley, 22, about a half block behind two other friends in search of a pizzeria. The victim had noticed the suspect about 50 yards behind him a few moments earlier. Then the suspect ran up and plunged a steak knife into the base of Rasmussen skull, the sources said.
“It was just some random dude,” said Ryan Asher, 23, the brother of the bride-to-be, who witnessed the attack.
“He didn’t even reach for my friend’s (Riley’s) purse. He took off the second he stabbed (Rasmussen). I don’t think it was a robbery attempt.”
Riley said the stabber, wearing a black beanie, pushed her in the face, scratching her, then fled west toward Fifth Ave.
“Connor was yelling, ‘I got stabbed! I got stabbed!’” she said. “When I turned, he (the attacker) swiped my face and there was blood on my check. He didn’t say anything. That’s what was so shocking.”
Remarkably, Rasmussen removed the knife from his head and gave it to police, who are hoping to identify the attacker from fingerprints or DNA.
No arrests have been made.
“I was shocked,” Ryan Asher recalled. “I knew he was fine the second after it happened. He was calm. He had pressure on it. He didn’t seem to be in a lot of pain.”
Rasmussen was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where a CAT scan revealed no serious injuries. He was released a short time later.“He got stitches,” said the victim’s grandmother Linda Colon, 71. “It was a 2-inch gash. If it would have been 2 inches or an inch on either side, from what the doctors said, it would have killed him.”
Police Monday were reviewing video surveillance to identify the attacker.
“It was amazing,” Rasmussen’s sister Bailey Menashe said of the marriage proposal. “It’s a hard way to end a weekend when you’re on a high like that. It’s a blessing from God that he did not suffer any other injuries except for the eight stitches.”
Colon said Jordan Asher; her mom, Kelli, and several friends originally came to New York to celebrate the holidays. Rasmussen decided to surprise Asher, fly in and make the proposal — and everyone else decided to witness the event.
Ryan Asher said Rasmussen had just graduated from college and skipped a job interview to propose to Jordan.
A professional photographer captured the Central Park scene.
“He was there in a nice, beautiful suit; she was all covered up because it was so cold and we were all hiding behind a rock, watching,” Colon recounted.
“He proposed and she accepted, and then she saw all of us and burst out crying,” Colon said. “It was their first time in New York.”
Following the Friday afternoon proposal, the whole group went to dinner at Carmine’s in Times Square.
They spent Saturday shopping for wedding dresses at Kleinfeld Bridal, the site of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” show, Colon said.
They went to Chelsea Market for lunch. Colon and some of the party flew home. Other members stayed in town.Then the terrifying attack happened.
“We never made it to the pizzeria,” Ryan Asher said. “We had to go to the hospital instead.”
The incident sent shock waves through both extended families back in Washington State.
“Being Christians, when we heard what happened, we started praying for him,” said Rasmussen’s uncle Jack Menashe. “He’s going to be OK.”
“They were having a wonderful experience and now, a horrible experience,” Colon said. “They are all very traumatized.”
The incident recalls the infamous robbery of the Vera Wang bridal shop on Madison Ave. in March 1994, when a Maryland mom and dad were shot and wounded.
The robbers who shot Edith and Gerald Schaeffer were after jewelry.
Bride-to-be Alisa Schaeffer ran out of the posh boutique, famously yelling, “I hate this city!”
Rasmussen had initially told relatives his experience soured him on New York, Colon said. Now, Colon said, maybe the city can make amends to the engaged couple.
“Maybe they’ll invite them back to have the wedding or maybe a free trip,” Colon said.