Yellow crime scene tape and a mass of police vehicles blocked the glass doors of the Empire State Plaza concourse late Sunday afternoon.
State Police Capt. William Keeler pushed open a revolving door onto Madison Avenue and explained what happened.
At approximately 3:15 p.m., State Trooper Rodney Smith was on his usual foot patrol as part of the State Capitol security detail. A young man approached him as he walked along the concourse, saying he was new in town.
Smith asked for identification, but “before the trooper knew it the individual drew a kitchen knife and stabbed him in the neck,” Keeler said.
Just over Keeler’s shoulder and through the glass doors, smudges of blood, a kitchen knife and Smith’s trooper hat on its stiff crown were clearly visible on the floor.
UPDATE: Police say Monday afternoon that a man, 18, is wanted for questioning in the attack. For more, click here.
“He just came out of surgery,” Keeler told reporters hours later. “The knife missed his artery.”
Smith reportedly put up a struggle, incurring more wounds to the neck, the face and a few places along his arms and hands before the assailant took the trooper’s radio and fled.
Using his cellphone, Smith called for help and was coherent enough to describe his attacker as a black male in his 20s. Responders soon rushed him to Albany Medical Center.
State and Albany police launched a massive manhunt, searching under cars along Madison Avenue and literally beating the bushes. Extra Albany police officers were brought in to investigate the incident, looking at surveillance footage from the area with little immediate success.
Three hours after the stabbing, Smith came safely through surgery. Troopers say Monday morning that the suspect remains at large.
“We have several K9 units,” Keeler said. “We’re searching for him as we have been for the last three hours.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Smith in the hospital, spokesman Josh Vlasto said in a tweet, adding the trooper is expected to make a full recovery. Smith is a 15-year veteran of the State Police.
“Our troopers can find themselves in dangerous and sometimes life-threatening situations on any given day,” State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said in a statement. “State Police are working with the Albany Police Department as well as other area law enforcement to identify the individual responsible for this senseless attack. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Smith’s family.”
Anyone with knowledge of the incident is asked to call the New York State Police at 518-473-5164.