A man suspected of stabbing and wounding two employees of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) over the weekend was apprehended today, March 15, in Philadelphia, the New York Police Department (NYPD) said.
The suspect was identified as Gary Cabana, a 60-year-old man who was upset over the revocation of his museum membership last Friday due to two previous incidents involving “disorderly conduct,” according to the NYPD. Cabana launched his attack after he was denied entry to the museum on Saturday.
A surveillance video released last week shows the suspect barreling into the museum at 4:15pm on Saturday, jumping over a reception desk, and stabbing two front desk employees repeatedly in the back, collarbone, and back of the neck. The wounded employees are reportedly a man and a woman, both aged 24. They are in stable condition at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital and are expected to survive the attack.
The museum was evacuated immediately after the incident and remained closed through Monday. In a tweet this morning, MoMA announced that it will be welcoming visitors again today, adding: “We’re relieved and grateful that our colleagues are recovering, and the attacker was arrested.”
Steve Keeley, a reporter for Fox 29 Philadelphia, posted a video of the arrest on Twitter, showing Cabana being led handcuffed into a police car. According to Keeley, Philadelphia police arrested Cabana at a Greyhound bus station in the city at 1:30am on Tuesday.
On Sunday, March 13, while still at large, Cabana posted an incoherent rant against MoMA on his Facebook page accusing the museum of a “frame job” and targeting a certain museum employee he named “Barbara.” He denied the allegations of disorderly conduct against him, saying he was silenced while laughing during a “comedy” film. Cabana, whom acquaintances describe as a cinephile, also suggested that he’s suffering from bipolar disorder, writing: “Bipolar is a tough road to hoe. Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.”
According to the NYPD, Cabana’s last known address was a supportive housing residence in Midtown Manhattan operated by Breaking Ground, a nonprofit that offers shelter for the homeless, the mentally ill, and people living with HIV/AIDS. He had no prior arrests.
Tara Varney, a close friend of Cabana who said she studied theater with him at Missouri State University in Springfield, told Gothamist that he fell into isolation after he lost his job as a Broadway usher when theaters closed during the pandemic. She added that Cabana had a history of mental illness that has worsened since he lost his livelihood. However, she expressed shock at the incident at MoMA, saying: “It wouldn’t have ever occurred to me that he might lash out.”
MoMA has not responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.