While riding the subway home to the Bronx from his job as a hair stylist in New Jersey, 44-year-old Ijan Jarrett made cardinal mistake of making eye contact and speaking to an unhinged person who ended up stabbing him multiple times after he offered her his seat.
According to Jarrett, who is transgender, things began calmly enough on Monday evening when, while riding the uptown 4 train, he saw two women step onto the train car.
"The heavy-set girl was standing over me. I asked her, ‘Would you like to sit next to your friend?’” Jarrett told the New York Post. “She said, ‘Oh no, no. I’m good.’”
The situation changed drastically when the woman, later identified as 30-year-old Stephanie Pazmino, turned to her cousin and loudly said that she didn't "want to sit next to a black person,” according to Jarrett. At that point, Jarrett tried to move away from the women, but as the train pulled into the station on 125th street, Pazmino allegedly charged at him and began to hit Jarrett's head. It wasn't until later after an onlooker intervened that Jarrett realized he had been stabbed.
“She stabbed me right under my left eye, on the back of my hand and on my left arm," Jarrett said. "She was screaming and hollering the whole time.”
Today, during a Criminal Court hearing held in Manhattan, Pazmino's attorney Elsie Chandler argued that her client, who is homeless and currently living in a shelter for people dealing with psychiatric issues, was merely acting in self defense after Jarrett allegedly attacked her.
“This was an unfortunate incident on the subway at Christmas time where lots of people lose their tempers," Chandler said.
Pazmino has been charged with second degree assault and criminal possession of the weapon she used to stab Jarrett with. She's currently being held on $4,000 cash bail.
This post has been updated with information about the victim's gender identity and the attacker's mental health.