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The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Photo: Lauren Cavalli.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Photo: Lauren Cavalli.

MoMA Stabbing Suspect Extradited to New York

Gary Cabana, who is suspected in the March 12, 2022, stabbing of two employees of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has been extradited to New York, where he will await trial on charges of assault and attempted murder. The sixty-year-old had until now been held in Philadelphia, where he was collared three days after the attack. While in custody there, he underwent psychiatric evaluation. Cabana arrived in Manhattan January 3 and, according to AMNY, will be arraigned today.

Cabana is said to have launched his assault, which left the two twenty-four-year-old staffers with non-life-threatening injuries, after having been denied entry owing to two previous incidences of disruptive behavior on his part. On arriving at the museum’s film desk as visitors were queuing to attend a screening of the 1938 Howard Hawks–directed screwball classic Bringing Up Baby, he was told that a letter announcing the revocation of his membership had been sent out the previous day. Cabana departed, only to return with a knife, whereupon he leapt over the desk and began stabbing the defenseless employees before fleeing.

MoMA was evacuated as rumors swirled that he was still in the building; the institution remained shuttered the next day. Police eventually found Cabana, whose last known address is a Midtown Manhattan residence for the homeless, the mentally ill, and those living with HIV/AIDS, sleeping on a bench at a Greyhound bus station. He is alleged to have earlier rented a room at the Philadelphia Best Western Plus and set it ablaze.

Before the stabbing, Cabana had no prior arrests. Tina Varney, his friend since college days, told Gothamist that he had long battled mental illness and had emotionally crashed after losing his job as an usher on Broadway during the pandemic, becoming increasingly paranoid as loneliness closed in. “When they said I couldn’t go upstairs to see STARRY STARYY [sic] NIGHT EVER AGAIN,” he wrote on social media after the attack, “I just lost it.”