Evan Sachs, accused of stabbing an 8-year-old at Dave and...

Evan Sachs, accused of stabbing an 8-year-old at Dave and Buster's, leaves Nassau police headquarters to be arraigned in Mineola. (Oct. 8, 2010) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The man who allegedly stabbed an 8-year-old boy in a Westbury restaurant Friday night as the child played a video game told police he had approached other boys at Long Island malls earlier in the day but walked away without attacking them, according to a law enforcement source.

Evan Sachs, 23, told Nassau detectives after the attack at the Dave & Buster's restaurant that he had already visited at least two malls - Roosevelt Field in Garden City and Walt Whitman Mall in South Huntington - that day and approached several young boys, brushing up against them or bumping into them before walking off.

The motive for those contacts and the alleged knife attack that left the boy with five stab wounds at the arcade-restaurant remains unclear.

Sachs, of Merrick, had been spotted in or near Dave & Busters for an extended period of time before he approached the 8-year-old about 8:25 p.m., placed one hand on the boy's left shoulder and plunged the 3 1/2-inch serrated blade of a black folding knife into the boy's back, police said.

The boy's mother was seated nearby and screamed as the boy collapsed. Sachs then walked into a Dave & Buster's restroom, where he was detained by the boy's father and a witness.

At least one of the five wounds punctured a lung, causing a partial collapse, officials said. The boy remained in Winthrop-University Hospital yesterday in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries. His identity has not been released.

Sachs was held without bail and is under suicide watch at Nassau County jail, his attorney, Charles Rosenblum, said.

A man who answered the phone at the Roosevelt Field mall security office said he had no comment. A security official at Walt Whitman Mall said there were no reports of someone bothering kids there Friday.

Sachs has no criminal record, and friends and teachers described him as bright and hardworking. He graduated in 2004 from Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick and later from University at Albany. He works as an usher at the UA Farmingdale 10 movie theater in Farmingdale, which has declined to comment.

Rosenblum asked for privacy for Sachs' parents. "We're just at the infancy of this, just starting our own investigation," he said. "We need to talk to his doctors."

At Sachs' arraignment on Saturday in Hempstead, where he entered a plea of not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault and weapons possession, Assistant District Attorney Daniel Looney said Sachs was found with a note indicating that he'd planned the attack. Sachs has no known connection to the injured boy, and police said it appeared he chose his victim at random.

Rosenblum said at the hearing that Sachs has been under psychiatric care and taking a variety of medications, some of which were changed recently. He said Sachs' parents were grateful the boy was expected to recover. "That's the most important thing to the family," he said.

A statement from Patrick Fitzgerald, regional operations director for Dave & Buster's Sunday wished the victim a full recovery and said the company is cooperating with police.

With Will Van Sant

and Yamiche Alcindor

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