PITTSBURGH - One woman is dead and another is injured after a double stabbing on Thursday at a bus stop in downtown Pittsburgh.
Around 11:30 a.m., an officer approached a woman who appeared to be sleeping at the bus shelter outside Burlington Coat Factory on Sixth Avenue.
“It looked like he was helping her. Then the man came around on the same street and stabbed her in the neck," Kimberly Andrews, a witness who happened to be walking by, said.
After that, the man went after another woman who was walking by, authorities said.
Police believe the second woman was wearing a hijab; however, they said the attack does not appear to have been racially or religiously motivated.
"It seems by all accounts a random act of violence. Thankfully, we had an officer that was on-scene when the incident happened who took appropriate action," Pittsburgh Police Major Crimes Cmdr. Victor Joseph said.
Pittsburgh police charged James Wyatt, 23, of McKeesport, with criminal homicide and aggravated assault. He is in the Allegheny County Jail.
Up until April, Wyatt had been serving a three-year probation after pleading guilty in 2016 to illegal gun possession, drug possession and an accident involving death or personal injury. Part of the probation was served in North Carolina, and Wyatt was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
In February, Wyatt was charged with disorderly conduct by McKeesport police.
The woman who had been talking to the officer before she was stabbed in the neck died at the hospital, police said. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office identified the woman as Janice Purdue-Dance, 61, of Erie.
The second woman suffered injuries to her mouth area, officials said. She is expected to make a full recovery.
#BREAKING: @PghPolice confirm an officer was speaking to a woman at the bus stop on Sixth Street when someone behind the officer attacked the woman and another woman nearby with a knife. The officer tackled the suspect and then provided aid to the victims pic.twitter.com/6dl9J2VGXp— Aaron Martin (@WPXIAaronMartin) August 8, 2019
The officer who was there when the attack happened was able to subdue the suspect before helping give medical aid to the victims, officials said.
“For all of that to go down, he was instantly on top of his game, keeping everyone safe while also monitoring the two victims that just got hurt," Andrews said.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County released the following statement:
“Port Authority extends its deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased and surviving victim of the senseless attack at our bus stop earlier today.
“Although the investigation by Pittsburgh police remains ongoing, we understand that this was an isolated incident.
“The safety and security of our customers, employees and the public is our top priority, and we will continue to maintain a strong police presence in the areas we serve by working with Pittsburgh police and other local law enforcement agencies throughout our region.”
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