Police have made an arrest in the random Manhattan street slashing that left a man partially paralyzed with over 100 stitches to his face, officials announced Thursday.
The 28-year-old man, Francis Salud, was taken into custody without incident Thursday morning as he was leaving an apartment at East 4th Street and 2nd Avenue, not far from where he allegedly slashed 30-year-old Anthony Christopher Smith in the face last weekend, police said.
Salud was being charged with assault. Attorney information wasn't immediately clear.
Salud, who is from Queens but now lives in lower Manhattan, was arrested for a similar incident on Oct. 18, police said. That assault, which happened in a garden area at the back of Bellevue Hospital, was sparked by an argument over a cigarette, and the suspect allegedly used a switchblade to attack the other man, according to police.
In that case, the 30-year-old victim needed 73 stitches on the left side of the body.
Salud was arrested in the incident and released on $30,000 bail. He was set to appear in court on Feb. 9 in that case.
He also has past arrests for assault and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
Salud may have a psychiatric history, police said.
A friend of Smith, Matthew Vargas Stehney, spoke on his behalf Thursday and told NBC 4 after news of Salud's arrest: "He just wants to make sure that this person is put where he belongs, whether that's a mental institution or jail."
Smith told NBC 4 New York on Monday that had just gotten off the subway and was walking down East 6th Street around 4:30 p.m. to meet friends for dinner when someone came up behind him, knocked him to the ground and cursed at him.
It wasn’t until after he got up that Smith realized he was bleeding and had been slashed on the right side of his face, from his ear to his jawline.
By then, the suspect had run away.
"I'm realizing I'm gushing out blood and I'm trying not to panic," Smith said after leaving Bellevue Hospital Monday night. "I couldn't call 911 because there was so much blood everywhere. My hands were covered, my phone was covered."
Smith said passersby called for help.
He described the attack as unprovoked and said he didn't interact with anyone on the street prior to being pushed and slashed. He said he got a decent look at his attacker, and saw a blade in his hand.
Smith underwent eight hours of surgery at Bellevue and left Monday night with 150 stitches. He has partial paralysis on the right side of his face because several nerves were severed.
Doctors told Smith he should make a full recovery and he'll be able to smile again in about six to nine months, after some physical therapy.
Stehney said Thursday it appears it will be several months before he gets full feeling and motion back in his face.
"But he's doing remarkably well. He's only a little bit sore. The doctors did a fantastic job," he said.
The slashing happened less than two weeks after a woman was randomly slashed in the face while walking to work in Chelsea. A 41-year-old man was arrested in the slashing and was linked to several similar attacks across the city in recent months.