NYC gang member, career criminal out on parole, charged in fatal stabbing of Columbia grad student

A New York City gang member with a lengthy criminal history who was out on parole has been charged with the stabbing death of one man and the wounding of an Italian tourist.

NYPD officers arrested Vincent Pinkney, 25, Friday night as hundreds of people gathered on the South Lawn of Columbia University to hold a vigil for Davide Giri, who was a Ph.D. candidate in the field of computer science, reported.

Giri, 30, died of his wounds late Thursday night after NYPD officers say he was knifed in the stomach by Pinkney, who then allegedly wounded Robert Malastina, 27, an Italian tourist, outside of Central Park. Pinkney then allegedly acted in a “menacing” way with another man, 29, brandishing a large kitchen knife as the man walked in the park with his girlfriend, the outlet added.

Reports said that Pinkney is a member of a gang called Everybody Killas, an offshoot of the Bloods. He has at least 11 prior arrests that date back to 2012 and was out on parole stemming from a gang assault conviction in 2015.

The New York Post reported that Pinkney was released from prison in June 2018 after being sentenced to four years for a brutal assault in which he and three accomplices kicked, punched, and slashed a victim. The attack was captured on video.

Giri, who was eulogized by friends and supporters Friday night, was in his sixth year as a doctoral candidate enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“I write with great sorrow to share the tragic news that Davide Giri, a graduate student at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was killed in a violent attack near campus on Thursday night,” Columbia University President Lee Bollinger noted in an email to the student body.

“This news is both unspeakably sad and deeply shocking, as it took place only steps from our campus. On behalf of the entire Columbia community, I send my deepest condolences to Davide’s family,” Bollinger added.

Giri was fatally stabbed about a block away from another deadly attack involving Bernard College student Tessa Majors, 18. In December 2019, she was also stabbed to death, as violent crimes continue to mount in New York City and other major metropolitan regions around the country.

“I’m devastated,” Giri’s longtime friend, Cesare Mercurio, 31, told The Post. “I can’t make sense of the act itself. It gives me anger.”

“He was probably the warmest person I’ve ever met in my life. He had this way of making you forget bad things. He was smart and academically ambitious,” Mercurio added.

“He was always emitting happiness. He was funny, he took things seriously but he also knew when not to,” the friend noted further.

Giri was born in Alba, Italy, but grew up near Turin, The Post added. He was stabbed on his way back to his apartment after playing soccer with the NY International FC.

He studied around the world —  Torino, Italy; Shanghai, China; and Chicago — before moving to New York City to finish his doctoral degree.

“He really liked New York,” another friend, Mattias Mengoni, told the Post. “He found it welcoming and multicultural. He was very accepting of all people from all backgrounds and New York was giving that to him.”

Jon Dougherty


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