Stabbing At Brooklyn Heights Library

EMS has transported a 52-year-old man to Bellevue Hospital after an apparent stabbing that occurred at the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Cadman Plaza West Tuesday evening. The victim was reportedly stabbed in the neck and abdomen, but the injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. A suspect was taken into custody at the scene. The Daily News reports that the incident occurred during an argument in which a man confronted another over his choice of online viewing material.

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  • She’s Crafty

    Wow, this is frightening. It sounds very like the stabbing at Borough Hall station on May 3 (which I don’t believe was reported here).

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    She’s Crafty,
    This is very scary. I go to the library several times a week and there have been many times that I encountered people hanging around inside the library who frightened me. I once followed a woman into the library who was ranting and raving. She was obviously deeply disturbed. As I mentioned previously, I don’t feel safe on the sidewalk and now this.

  • EHinBH

    Have said it before, that library is awful. Wish it would close.

  • HTC

    I agree with EHinBH – that library should be closed. The staff is asleep at the wheel. There are a lot of homeless people there & I’ve seen the woman talking to her self on the first floor. It is scarey that this happened on the 2nd floor where the kids section is. However the kids section has turned into a nanny lunchroom – everything goes on there BUT reading. I used to take my toddler there but it was too much of a zoo with kids running around, food everywhere and kids fighting over the 2 computers.

  • EHinBH

    YES – HTC! You hit the nail on the head. The place has turned into a government-funded home for the wayward… No place for kids. Just homeless, delusional, and troublemakers.

  • She’s Crafty

    I use that library with regularity and do not want to see it closed. If anything, there should be a greater security presence. There used to be a police officer on duty at the front door area, I’m not sure if he’s been removed or placed somewhere else.

    As much as some of us may not like it, the homeless have a right to the library too. You can’t kick someone out unless they are causing a problem, unfortunately last night’s problem meant someone was seriously hurt.

    The larger question: Why doesn’t the library block porn sites from its public computers?

  • Mike

    Yeah, the library may have some problems but you can’t just start kicking people out because they’re talking to themselves. I don’t think that’s against the law.

  • Geezzz

    Close the library would only show our despise for violence is bigger than our love for culture and knowledge. The library stays.

  • Wrennie

    She’s Crafty, I think it’s a first amendment thing…something to that effect, but please don’t quote me on that.

    And speaking of rights–yes, the homeless, I guess, have a right to the library. They have a right to use it the way everyone else does–as a place for reading or research. Not to basically set up shop and live there and be crazy there and make it unsanitary.

  • PS 8 parent

    I don’t think the staff is asleep. On the contrary, those I’ve spoken with and observed dealing with clients who are disturbed are very acutely aware of the issue. It’s just that there is only so much they can do. They nicely defused a problem a few years ago with teens bothering adults by completely redoing the second floor adult space. I think the library is a valuable community resource, though I agree that they need more help with mentally ill patrons.

  • Monty

    Saw a mentally ill (autistic?) man screaming on Remsen St this morning. Anyone have tips on if/when police or APS should be called? I’m certain there’s nothing illegal about screaming a little bit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had slipped away from some adult home and needed help.

  • Slide

    Monty, as a former law enforcement officer let me suggest that you not call the police because someone is ranting and raving. Part of living in New York.

    The ONLY time the police could really do anything is if an individual is acting in a way that is a danger to themselves or another. A REAL danger I might add, not just looking threatening or acting strangely. For example, if your screaming guy was running in and out of traffic causing cars to swerve to avoid him, you should call the cops as he is being a danger to himself.

  • Livingston

    I’ve had some experience w/ the BH libirary when they were doing renovations on my apartment buidling. I would bring my laptop and do work there (don’t believe in setting up shop at Starbucks for hours on end). I witnessed a lot inappropriate behavior by folks who did not appear to be homeless, although I saw plenty of those, too (e.g. cell phone use, really loud taliking/ laughing). You can shoot them dirty looks, but of course you hesitate to say something as you just don’t know who you are dealing and how it might end up (as witnessed by this event).

    BTW, I think the staff at the BH library are fine — they’ve always been willing to help me, have a good attitude and the right answers. The trouble lies with how the place is managed — which is not the average employee’s responsibility. I’ve also hung out doing research and work at the Business Library and 42nd Sreet Library in Manhattan and those places are nothing like the BH Library — they are very professional places and everyone, regardless of situtation, knows the rules and respects them.

  • Martin L

    On what to do about inappropriate and disruptive users of the Public LIbrary. It’s not rocket science.
    You are not free to yell Fire! in a public theater.
    The library welcomes the poor and anyone else who come to read. Unfortunately, the library has already had to resort to putting up signs reading No Card Playing Allowed. That’s pathetic and too late. However, it is a beginning.
    Other disruptive behaviors to be dealt with might include:
    Wheeling in smelly collections of personal belongings is inappropriate.
    Using the library as a dormitory is inappropriate.
    Talking loudly is inappropriate.
    Eating food on the library table is inappropriate.
    Librarians can not and should not be expected to enforce such basic rules.
    An alert and active security guard is needed at the front door to screen out or eject those who cannot or will not conform to the simple needs of the vast majority of library users for quiet and a tranquil environment .
    The library must be protected, in the first place, for library users.

  • Henry

    Hey Livingston. I just read your first sentence and found it interesting the the BH Library is also in the business of renovating apartment buildings. Would you recommend them to others? Were there cost overruns?

  • Livingston


    Oops! My mistake for not proof-reading better. Hope you got a chuckle out of it :-) Obviously “they” referred to the coop managment/construction crew at my building, not the BH library.

  • Brian P

    I’ve been using the library a lot lately to take practice tests for an exam I’m getting ready for. There really aren’t many semi-quiet places to do work in the city so I don’t think it should close. They probably should run a little tighter ship in terms of enforcing library rules, but the librarians do a good job under tough circumstances.

    In terms of the homeless people, they do a have a right to use a public space. It would be nice if they could keep it down, but overall it isn’t so bad. My boss occasionally yells obscenities at his computer, so it isn’t just crazy people talking to themselves.

  • debfrombrooklyh

    Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library (FBHBL) is looking for individuals to help energize its future endeavors. The non-profit 501c3 organization, formed in 1993, and incorporated in 1997, hosts an annual fundraiser that honors authors or illustrators and supports other community initiatives.
    We invite all who are interested to a meeting Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m., at the Brooklyn Public Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West. Please join us in the Children’s Room on the second floor.
    FBHBL’s mission includes: bringing crucial library issues to the attention of the community and elected officials; supporting the library by raising money to purchase books, furniture, audiobooks, and computers (as well as their ongoing maintenance); sponsorship of author visits and events; and Friday book sales.
    FBHBL is working toward launching a Facebook page and is looking for trustees to be placed on the slate for election on June 5; for more information, please contact Deborah Hallen at

  • Sajh

    I feel these stands should be placed on more commercial roads. It makes sense on Montague and on Old Fulton/Court St. It makes sense down by the water on Furman. It does not make sense on Henry,Middagh and other locations in the neighborhood.

    For me besides the aethetics (yes, the bright blue bikes will detract from streets that are solely residential), it will also be an issue of enforcement. More than likely, most residents of Brooklyn Heights either already have a bike or wont need this service. So the only people who will be using it will be for the most part tourists/people not from the neighborhood. Some tourists esp from other countries do not know the rules and regulations of our road system (staying on the right!) or even our traffic sign symbols. Take a look at the Brooklyn Bridge and see tourists all over the bike lane. This would be fine in small doses but Brooklyn Heights is in every tourist book so there will be a problem with capacity, both on the bike racks and in the streets.

    Another potential issue is the sidewalks are narrow in Brooklyn Heights. Add people (illegally) riding bikes on them b/c they are too afraid to be on road.

    I think this entire bike share problem is not thought out at all for the entire city. Yes, we want to encourage RESIDENTS to use bikes more but I feel it will largely be overtaken by tourists and the city does not and will not expend extra money for a police task force in keeping cyclists off the sidewalks and obeying traffic laws. I would much rather see larger rack facility hubs than this sprinkling all over the city.

  • Sajh

    Argh, somehow my comment crossed into the wrong article. Apologizes, please ignore.

  • Willowtowncop

    Slide- what exactly do you mean by ” former law enforcement” ? I suspect not retired NYPD because that’s what’s said if that’s the case. “Former” in NYPD lingo either means fired or quit after less than five years (when you can vest out and “retire”). If you aren’t NYPD, former or retired, you should think twice about offering suggestions about another Department’s (in this case, the one that has jurisdiction) policies. If someone appears to be mentally unstable and people fear for their safety because the person is acting unpredictably, you absolutey should call 911 and report an emotionally disturbed person (EDP) give a good description and location and get out of harm’s way. The cops will take the person in for a psych evaluation by a Dr. at LICH who will decide if he’s dangerous or not. I can’t believe a “former law enforcement” whatever you were would suggest ignoring what could quickly escalate into a dangerous situation.

  • SPM

    For every individual who is disruptive I would wager there are 5 or more who use the library in responsible ways and who love to read, use its resources and know that there is a place for them to go that freely provides this information.

    The library in the Heights does need some improvement but instead of griping about it or saying it should close, do something! Volunteer, donate and speak to our representatives about getting better monitoring and security. The library is a treasured resource and needs our neighborhood support.

  • GHB

    jane, do you take your toddler to Book Court? They have a very nice children’s section and they offer good programs.

  • bronxkid

    I recently visited the library one evening after work and was quite happy to see several parents helping their children with homework, students on computers obciously doing term papers, elderly people reading newspapers and magzines. It is getting shabby, but in these days of budget cuts, we should be glad it is still there and open for those who need it. Not everyone has access to home computers, i-pads, nooks and kindles. Why not work with the librarians to enhance it and refresh the space? SPM is right! Volunteer, get involved, don’t let one incident lead to the closing of a valuable resource for many people.

  • http://n/a Barbara Shernoff

    Martin L., SPM, & Bronx Kid–good comments!

    I am grateful to have out library in the Heights. Problems should be addressed and corrected. Suggesting that the library should be closed is ridiculous and selfish.

  • Andrew Porter

    Barbara Shernoff: Yes, the library should be closed, and in fact torn down and the ground sown with salt. The books inside should be burned—but only the books we disagree with… Oh, excuse me, the nice man from Bellevue has arrived. Gotta go…

  • Don Griewank

    I am a regular visitor and user of the public library and do see an occasional extremely filthy person or rude person also using it. I have never felt unsafe and I have never seen the staff being rude to anyone.

    But the burning question for me is the person who did the stabbing and commited 13, 14 or 15 other crimes. What does he look like? I’ve not seen any news site showing what he looks like for future reference.

    Side note: I’ve noted that the homeless or apparently homeless people around Cadman Plaza and the Promenade have gotten more aggressive and rude in past few months.

  • Andrew Porter

    I was on Powell Street in downtown San Francisco a year ago, and if you think the homeless here are more aggressive, they don’t hold a candle to the ones there—who are bunched up, dozens in a few blocks, all haranguing passers-by.

    Don G: It’s possible a Google image search will provide an answer to your question.