Salman Rushdie, the Indian-born British author whose writing led to death threats
southwestern New York state.
Police confirmed Rushdie was stabbed “at least once in the neck, and at least once
in the abdomen” on Friday after an assailant rushed to the stage and lunged at the
75-year-old writer just as he was being introduced to the audience.
After being airlifted to the hospital where he spent hours in surgery, Rushdie was on
a ventilator and unable to speak on Friday evening.
“The news is not good,” Andrew Wylie, his book agent, wrote in an email to the
Reuters news agency. “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were
severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”
Police identified the suspect as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from New Jersey.
Major Eugene Staniszewski of New York state police told reporters on Friday
afternoon that officials do not have “any indication of a motive” at this “very early”
stage of the investigation. They said they believed that Matar was acting alone.
Stacey Schlosser, who witnessed the attack, told The Associated Press news agency
that Rushdie was stabbed six to eight times before the attacker was restrained.
“Nobody knew what to do. Nobody knew how to react. I mean, there were tons of
people that rushed the stage,” Schlosser said.
“A man jumped up on the stage from I don’t know where and started what looked like
beating him on the chest, repeated fist strokes into his chest and neck,” said Bradley
Fisher, who was in the audience. “People were screaming and crying out and
Stunned attendees helped pull the man off Rushdie, who had fallen to the floor.
A New York state police trooper providing security at the event arrested the attacker,
while a doctor in the audience helped look after Rushdie until emergency services