Police Are Searching for a Disgruntled Former MoMA Member After He Stabbed Two Museum Employees Who Denied Him Entry
The assailant attacked the staffers after he was denied entry due to a revoked membership, according to police.
Two employees were stabbed on Saturday at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, triggering an emergency evacuation of the institution.
Emergency Medical Services brought the victims to Bellevue Hospital within minutes, according to a briefing from the New York Police Department. Their injuries are nonfatal and they are in stable condition.
The attack took place at 4:15 p.m. after the perpetrator—a regular at the museum—was denied entrance because his membership had been revoked after two separate incidents of disorderly conduct there in recent days, the police said. He had received a letter about the revocation one day earlier.
“He became upset about not being allowed entrance and jumped over the reception desk and proceeded to attack and stab employees of the museum multiple times,” said John Miller, deputy director of intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD. The victims, both age 24, sustained injuries in the back, collarbone, and back of the neck, he said.
On Sunday, police released the identity of the suspect: 60-year-old Gary Cabana, a Broadway usher. In video footage, he can be seen leaping over the film desk at the museum to attack two front-desk employees who had denied him entrance to a screening of Bringing Up Baby. He was recorded leaving the museum and is not yet in custody. Police are now offering a reward of up to $3,500 for information leading to Cabana’s arrest.
A representative for MoMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The museum remained closed on Sunday.
Artnet News was in the galleries when the attack took place. It was just after 4:30 p.m. when security guards informed visitors that they were clearing the building, and that everyone had to evacuate through the 54th Street exit.
The crowds viewing the Sophie Taeuber Arp exhibition were confused, dragging their feet as they craned their necks to get one last look at the artist’s tapestries and marionettes.
“This is serious,” a security guard snapped. “It’s an emergency and you need to leave!”
As the public exited the show and approached the stairs, some were scanning social media for news of what had happened. By the time Artnet News got outside and circled back to 53rd Street, an ambulance was speeding away.
C.S. Muncy, a freelance photographer for Gothamist, had been around the corner at Uniqlo when he got an emergency news alert about the attack and arrived on the scene in time to photograph two victims as they got into the ambulance.
Both were conscious and talking, and one proclaimed that “I’m going to get hazard pay,” Muncy told Artnet News.
As museumgoers spilled out into the streets, confusion reigned.
“Not one person said anything about refunds—they were just like, ‘let’s go!'” one guest observed as they left the premises.
“I was just trying to enjoy Starry Night,” their friend responded.
Meanwhile, guards at the main entrance on 53rd Street were turning away would-be guests, as the museum is typically open late, until 7 p.m., on Saturdays.
Through the window, one could see a stand full of unclaimed umbrellas, abandoned in the rush to clear the building.
Down the block, at the museum’s film entrance, police were putting up caution tape. As a small crowd of photojournalists snapped photographs, officers struggled to close the silvery curtains in the window to block the scene from view.
“I would never imagine an attack in this museum. They have metal detectors and a lot of security,” Hernando Restrepo, a doorman at neighboring Museum Tower, told Artnet News. “That is crazy.”
This story has been updated with new information about the suspect.
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