(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — What started as a routine speaker series quickly turned violent as Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage at the Chautauqua Institution.
The New York State Police have named the alleged suspect as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey.
We asked if he was working alone and they presume it was a lone attack. The president of the institution said Matar was on the ground with a day pass like everyone else who was there.
Watch below as New York State Police hold a news conference on the attack.
Salman Rushdie, who is at UPMC Hamot right now, is in surgery. State Police said he had one neck wound and one in the abdomen.
Ralph Henry Reese, the other man on stage, sustained facial injuries but has been released and was also sent to UPMC Hamot.
Once the suspect was in custody they did find a backpack, but it has been cleared by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s department.
President Michael Hill of the Chautauqua Institution said for each event, they take security very seriously.
“We assess for every event, what we think the appropriate security level is. This one was certainly one we thought was important, which is why we had state trooper and sheriff presence there. We will assess for each of the events at the institution, what we think the appropriate level of security is, and that’s an ongoing process that we work in concert with local law enforcement on,” said Michael Hill, president of the Chautauqua Institution.
President Hill said the plan is to continue the speaker series, but that decision will still need be discussed. The institution is off of lockdown.
Rushdie is in surgery and the level of his status is unknown at this time.