On Monday morning, a 49-year-old homeless man named Richard Pearson began an argument with a 60-year-old man selling cell-phone accessories from a table set up on Broadway, near Prince Street. Pearson then grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed the street vendor in the chest, sending him to the hospital in serious condition. The incident probably didn’t come as a surprise to those who work in the immediate area: DNAinfo notes that the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Pearson (who was soon arrested and charged with attempted murder) had long been known as “the Wild Man of Soho,” thanks to the frequency with which he threatens and occasionally assaults people in the neighborhood.
In June 2013, locals told the website about a number of frightening encounters with Pearson, including the time he injured someone by throwing a brick at their arm, as well as his tendency to enter stores to “[attack] workers and [damage] merchandise.” Calls to the police and fliers urging people to report Pearson’s behavior had brought “little result” as of last summer, DNAinfo noted.
As the victim’s coworker put it after Monday’s attack, “[Pearson] just snapped.” Sometimes, it is the one you’d expect.