A 35-year-old woman was stabbed to death inside her Lower Manhattan apartment early Sunday by a man who had followed her down the street and into her building, the police said.
The woman, whose identity has not yet been released, is seen in 30-second surveillance video walking down Chrystie Street in Chinatown as the man follows closely behind.
In the video, she enters her apartment building just before 4:30 a.m. As she walks down the building hallway and moves out of frame, the man, identified by the police as Assamad Nash, 25, is still trailing her.
Neighbors called the police a short time later about a disturbance, police officials said, and when they got to the building, the door to the victim’s apartment was locked. One neighbor said he heard screams.
When Emergency Service Unit officers broke into the apartment, police officials said, the victim was found dead in her bathroom. Mr. Nash tried unsuccessfully to escape out of a back window, the police said. He was arrested inside the apartment, they said, and was taken to Bellevue Hospital.
Mr. Nash has a history of misdemeanor arrests, court records show.
Police officials said it does not appear the woman who was killed knew her attacker or had any prior contact with him before he followed her home.
She lived in a six-story walk-up steps from the Grand Street subway station. As snow fell on Sunday afternoon, police guarded the building, allowing only residents and detectives to enter. A small grocery store advertising cigarettes and soda in Chinese was shuttered.
Andrew Oaks, 30, who lives in the building, said that he was awake at 4:30 a.m. when he heard screams that “sounded like something out of a movie.” He added that he “thought nothing of it,” until he heard banging on the door and the police began questioning residents later in the morning.
In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Mayor Eric Adams called the stabbing “horrific,” saying “we stand with our Asian community today.”
“While the suspect who committed this heinous act is now in custody, the conditions that created him remain,” Mr. Adams said in an official statement shortly after his tweet. “The mission of this administration is clear: We won’t let this violence go unchecked.”
The stabbing victim was Asian, but the police have not yet called the killing a hate crime. Attacks against people of Asian descent have been on the rise since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Last December, the Police Department reported that anti-Asian attacks were up 361 percent from the previous year, and last month, Michelle Alyssa Go, a 40-year-old Asian American woman, was pushed to her death while waiting for a southbound R train at Times Square.
Wellington Z. Chen, the executive director of the Chinatown Business Improvement District/Partnership, said the stabbing was the latest tragedy in a neighborhood that has suffered profoundly during the pandemic.
“How many blows can one community take?” he said, adding: “There’s not a vaccine for the anti-Asian hate.”
Mr. Nash had been arrested at least four times last year on misdemeanor charges, including assault, harassment and selling a fare card, court records show. Three of the cases remain open, according to online court records. Information about the previous cases was not immediately available. A spokesman for the Legal Aid Society, which is representing him in the open matters, declined to comment.
Ashley Southall and Jeffrey E. Singer contributed reporting.