Man charged with hate crime after stabbing 2 teens at Grand Central on Christmas Day

Man charged with hate crime after stabbing 2 teens at Grand Central on Christmas Day

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The man who stabbed two teenage girls at Grand Central Station on Christmas Day was charged with hate crimes, transit police announced Wednesday.

The two girls, ages 14 and 16, were seated in the station’s dining concourse with their parents when they were attacked just before 11:30 a.m. Monday. The girls’ injuries were not life-threatening, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) said.

The family was visiting New York City from Paraguay.

The suspect, 36-year-old Esteban Esono-Asue allegedly made derogatory comments about white people to a station employee before the attack. He then approached the girls, who appeared to be white, and stabbed the 16-year-old in the back before stabbing the 14-year-old in the thigh.

Nearby police officers arrested the suspect “less than one minute” after the incident, according to the MTA.

According to court filings, Esono-Asue made the derogatory comments after being asked to leave by a station employee. He responded by saying something similar to “I’ll leave, I don’t want the white man to get at you,” according to the filing.

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

Esono-Asue was charged with attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first and second degree and attempted assault in the first degree, all classified as hate crimes, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

He is scheduled to appear in court Friday and was held without bail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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