Rockville Centre’s top cop said Wednesday there’s no link between stabbings of students at Hempstead High School and South Side High School in successive days at parks in the village and Lakeview.
“We have determined these incidents are unrelated,” said Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario. “It’s a coincidence that we happen to have two stabbings in two days. Its not only a coincidence, it’s an anamoly. So the residents can rest assured that this is not something that’s going to continue to occur.”
The descriptions of the assailants in the stabbings — Tuesday night at the Rev. Morgan Days Park in Rockville Centre and Monday at Hempstead Lake Park in Lakeview — are different, Gennario said.
“We have totally unrelated subjects; we have totally unrelated victims,” said Gennario, who said no arrests have been made in either attack.
Police from the county and Rockville Centre were at the Rev. Morgan Days Park late into Tuesday night after a report of stabbings at a basketball court injured three teens at about 6:30 p.m.
Gennario said the three young men -- ages 17 and 18, village residents who attend South Side High School -- were playing basketball at the park on Nassau Street when they were approached by a man about 35 to 40 years old with a bald head and sleeve-type tattoos on each arm.
The man, about 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8, went up to one of the teens, pulled on a ski mask and attempted to strike the teen with his fist, police said. A fight ensued, and when the other two basketball players came to help, the man used a black and silver knife to stab all three 17 and 18-year-olds.
Gennario said he had no updates on their injuries or conditions.
The man ran south toward the parking lot; each of the three victims was taken to a hospital for treatment of stab wounds, police said.
“We believe that the perpetrator or the subject, he did not come with the intent of stabbing or slashing anyone,” said Gennario. “What happened was, a fight broke out between he and one of the victims. ...That individual’s friends jumped in to assist their friend, at that point, the subject was outnumbered. ...That’s when he began slashing. We don’t think he came down to the scene with the intent of stabbing that victim. We think that he was going after the person who started a fight.”
Gennario said the victims told police they don’t know the assailant.
On Monday, three Hempstead High School students, between the ages of 14 and 17, were on a trail in Hempstead Lake State Park were attacked by another group not far from Hempstead High School, said park police and Gennario.
State Park Police continued Tuesday with their investigation at Hempstead Lake, a spokesman said. The spokesman said increased patrols were planned. Two of the three teens stabbed Monday were released from the hospital and the third was in stable condition.
Hempstead schools also said Tuesday they were beefing up security on their campuses as a result of the stabbings. Grief counselors also were being made available to students concerned over the incident.
With Zachary R. Dowdy, Deon J. Hampton and Kevin Deutsch