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Victim in NYC subway samurai attack linked to 2019 terror scare

FOX News logo FOX News 10/20/2022 Michael Ruiz
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A New York straphanger who lost a duel with a swordsman on a Manhattan subway Thursday morning had been accused of planting fake bombs on another commuter train back in 2019, igniting a terror scare, according to authorities.

Larry Griffin, 29, had a violent morning at the Chambers Street subway station after an argument with another man left him bloodied around 9:20 a.m., according to investigators.

Griffin told police the argument broke out on a northbound A train, when the suspect allegedly "menaced him with a sheathed sword."

When the suspect got off, Griffin followed him and took out his phone to call 911, according to authorities. Then the other man allegedly whacked him in the head with the sword’s wooden sheath, which broke off and was recovered at the scene.

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A man was taken to the Hospital after he was slashed in the forehead by what is being described as a Samurai Sword with a pearl handle that was wielded by a man of thin build approximately six feet tall on the A/C/E train platform at Park Place and Church Street in Manhattan on Thursday October 20, 2022. The Swordsman fled the transit system and is being sought by police. Theodore Parisienne for NY Daily News via Getty Images © Theodore Parisienne for NY Daily News via Getty Images A man was taken to the Hospital after he was slashed in the forehead by what is being described as a Samurai Sword with a pearl handle that was wielded by a man of thin build approximately six feet tall on the A/C/E train platform at Park Place and Church Street in Manhattan on Thursday October 20, 2022. The Swordsman fled the transit system and is being sought by police. Theodore Parisienne for NY Daily News via Getty Images

"The suspect fled topside to parts unknown," a police spokesperson said Thursday, and he remains at large. Griffin was treated at New York Downtown Hospital.

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Griffin, in 2019, was accused of planting rice cookers at the Fulton Street subway station, near the World Trade Center, in 2019. Police found a third cooker a couple miles away on a sidewalk in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. He was still on parole for that at the time of Thursday's attack, according to the New York Post.

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The incident prompted a minor panic until police determined they were inert devices.

At the time, his cousin told reporters in their West Virginia hometown that he suffered from mental health issues.

"Little Larry’s a good person. He’s got issues, but he don’t ever mean no harm or anything," Tara Brumfield told WSAZ-TV. "Sometimes I don’t understand why he don’t use his smart for good, but the things that he does sometimes I question."

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October 20: A man was taken to the Hospital after he was slashed in the forehead by what is being described as a Samurai Sword with a pearl handle that was wielded by a man of thin build approximately six feet tall on the A/C/E train platform at Park Place and Church Street in Manhattan on Thursday October 20, 2022. The Swordsman fled the transit system and is being sought by police. Theodore Parisienne for NY Daily News via Getty Images © Theodore Parisienne for NY Daily News via Getty Images October 20: A man was taken to the Hospital after he was slashed in the forehead by what is being described as a Samurai Sword with a pearl handle that was wielded by a man of thin build approximately six feet tall on the A/C/E train platform at Park Place and Church Street in Manhattan on Thursday October 20, 2022. The Swordsman fled the transit system and is being sought by police. Theodore Parisienne for NY Daily News via Getty Images

Rice cookers can resemble pressure cookers – which have in the past been used to make bombs, including those used in the Boston Marathon attack in 2013 and another that rocked Chelsea in 2016, injuring 30 people.

Griffin's criminal history also predates his time in the Big Apple – with West Virginia authorities revealing after his bomb scare arrest that he had prior charges including possession of a controlled substance involving weapons and use of obscene material to seduce a minor. 

The subway sword attack comes as Mayor Eric Adams has insisted the media is to blame for the "perception" of surging public transportation crimes.

However, police statistics show transit crime was up 41.1% year to date as of Oct. 16, the most recent data set available. Robberies have spiked 34.2% in that time, and felony assaults rose by 14.5%.

Adams' office told Fox News Digital that the city needs to "battle both the reality of crime and the perception of crime."

"Battling the perception of crime includes battling elements of mental health disorder, which include ensuring that those with serious mental illness aren’t wondering through the subway or posing a danger to themselves or others, and that our streets are clean," said Fabian Levy, the mayor's press secretary. "The reality is that both murders and shootings are down by double digits, and the mayor is proud of that, but he also believes that New Yorkers deserve a safer city, and he will not rest until that is delivered."

Fox News’ Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.

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