NEW YORK — A 39-year-old man was stabbed to death during an argument over a game prize inside Times Square’s Dave & Buster’s, police said Saturday.
The victim, a Bronx resident, had turned in his winning tickets at the arcade-themed restaurant about 10:45 pm Saturday and was reaching for a yellow drone on a top shelf in the prize room when he got into a fight with his killer, according to a restaurant worker who reviewed surveillance footage of the attack said.
The stabber feared the drone was going to fall off the shelf and strike a small girl with him, according to the worker.
“The guy that did it was with a child and a woman,” said the employee, who wished not to be named. “(The victim) accidentally dropped the drone near the little girl. It almost fell on her. That’s when they fought.”
The little girl and an older woman, believed to be the child’s grandmother, had walked off just before the fight began.
As the two came to blows, the stabber jammed a large knife into the victim’s chest before leaving the third-floor eatery on W. 42nd Street near Eighth Avenue.
“It’s pretty brutal. (The knife) was pretty huge,” the employee said. “They were punching each other and that’s when (the stabber) pulled out the knife from his back pocket and he stabbed him. It’s wild, actually. He literally just puts the knife away in his back pocket and just walks out.”
Medics rushed the victim to Mount Sinai Morningside but he could not be saved. His name was not immediately released.
A Dave & Busters employee gave cops a detailed description of the stabber, who was wearing a green hoodie, and members of the NYPD’s Times Square detail nabbed the suspect a short distance from the restaurant.
Charges against the suspect, who has an extensive criminal history, were pending Saturday morning, authorities said. The victim also has an arrest record, police sources said.
“We are fully cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation,” a spokesman for Dave & Buster’s said in a statement. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with those affected by this terrible incident.”
The victim’s blood was left splattered all over the prizes. Dave & Busters closed shortly after the stabbing and reopened Sunday after a thorough cleaning.
“You would never know that something occurred,” Liza White, 36, said when she showed up with her family Sunday morning. “Because kids come here with excitement and parents we thrive off of that.”
“That’s a very scary situation to encounter,” she said of the stabbing. “We all come to have a good time. Why can’t we have that good time?”
Manhattan mom Elaine Ball was planning to celebrate her daughter’s 12th birthday at Dave & Busters Saturday night but they never made it because dinner ran late. She brought her daughter there Sunday instead.
“We were so lucky that we weren’t here. Horrible,” said Ball, 48. “She definitely still wanted to come this morning.”
“Our employees, they’re on the younger side, like 18 and 19 and they had to witness that,” said the staffer. “I was concerned about them. You’ll see like arguments and people fighting but its never gotten this bad to the point where someone is stabbed.”
“I’m expecting a lot of calls out today,” he added.