FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 17, 2023
Homeless Man Sentenced to 14 Years to Life in Prison for
Stabbing a Skateboarder on the Williamsburg Bridge
Unprovoked Attack Left Victim in Critical Condition
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a homeless man has been sentenced to 14 years to life in prison for stabbing and severely injuring a skateboarder during an unprovoked attack on the Williamsburg Bridge.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This was a brutal and horrifying attack on a completely innocent man. I am committed to keeping the people of Brooklyn safe from violence. With today’s lengthy sentence, the defendant will be held accountable for his actions.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Omar Cartagena, 46. The defendant, who was deemed a mandatory persistent violent felony offender because of previous felony convictions, was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Eugene Guarino to 14 years to life in prison. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault on September 7, 2023.
The District Attorney said that, on October 16, 2021, at about 10 a.m., the defendant was riding a bicycle behind the 30-year-old victim as he skateboarded across the Williamsburg Bridge. According to the evidence, the defendant started to yell at the victim and demanded he get out of the way. Despite the victim moving to the other side of the bike path, the defendant continued to yell at him. The defendant then pulled up next to the victim and stabbed him once in the chest with a knife.
Furthermore, according to the evidence, the victim was able to take a photo of the defendant as he rode away and a second photo of the defendant waiting for him at the end of the bridge with the knife in his hands. The victim then skateboarded to an urgent care clinic in Greenpoint where an employee called 911. The victim was transported to Elmhurst Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery — including a sternotomy — due to severe internal bleeding. He remained hospitalized for eight days.
The defendant was arrested approximately two hours after the stabbing by detectives who were canvassing the area around the Williamsburg Bridge and recognized him from the victim’s photos. The defendant had a bloody knife tucked into his waistband. DNA from the blade matched the victim.
Additionally, in the time between stabbing the 30-year-old victim on the Williamsburg Bridge and his arrest, the defendant stabbed a 34-year-old man on the Lower East Side.
The defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in Manhattan in that case and received a sentence of 14 years to life in prison. The Brooklyn and Manhattan sentences will run concurrently.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sanam Shah, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Courtney Hogg, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Bureau Chief.