Racial slur sparked Flushing stabbings: Accused

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The man accused of stabbing three people in Flushing last week told police he went on a bloody rampage because his wife had left him and a man on the street called him by a racial slur, according to the criminal complaint filed in Queens Criminal Court.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said 41−year−old David Williams of 147−25 Northern Blvd. was ordered held without bail Jan. 14 after being charged with two counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault for allegedly stabbing three people and punching a fourth in the face outside an apartment building near his home.

Williams told police following his arrest that a man called him a “n−−−­−−,” so he punched the man and went back to his apartment, the complaint said.

“I went back upstairs and grabbed a knife and thought, ‘It’s on,’ ” Williams said in statements to police.

After Williams’ arraignment, Brown called the attacks “senseless and deliberate.”

“The routine of a Tuesday morning was thrown into chaos by this frightening and unprovoked attack allegedly carried out by the defendant,” Brown said.

Shortly before noon Jan. 13, medical gloves, a New York Yankees cap and various articles of clothing littered the blood−stained ground outside an apartment building at 147−15 Northern Blvd. as investigators canvassed the area.

Just a few hours earlier, at about 9:30 a.m., police said Williams allegedly stabbed 78−year−old John Purcell; his 71−year−old wife, Joan; and 41−year−old Juhn Fook repeatedly with a large serrated knife before assaulting another man and eventually scuffling with police officers near the location.

Both John and Joan Purcell were listed in fair condition at Flushing Hospital after suffering life−threatening stab wounds to their torsos, authorities said. Brown said John Purcell had a punctured spleen, while his wife had a lacerated liver and severe gashes to her arm and chest.

Fook suffered a punctured lung in the attack, and was listed in stable condition Tuesday at Flushing Hospital, according to the DA.

Following his arrest, Williams showed some remorse for his actions, according to the complaint.

“How them people doing?” he asked an officer at the 109th Precinct. “Are they still alive? Oh, thank God.”

Williams faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, the DA said.

Police said they responded to the scene and found 38−year−old Deraj Meraj, who said the suspect had punched him in the face before fleeing the scene.

A short time later, police said they saw Williams holding a knife near the 147−15 Northern Blvd. and ordered him to drop his weapon, to which he complied. As police officers attempted to apprehend him, authorities said Williams began flailing and fighting with the officers, but was eventually taken into custody.

“What? It’s not like I stabbed the president,” Williams said to police during his arrest, according to the complaint.

It was only after Williams was arrested that police were alerted to the stabbing victims, authorities said. Police believe Williams ducked into 147−15 Northern Blvd. after attacking Meraj, where he confronted the Purcells and Fook as police began to search the area.

Family members of the Purcells could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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