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Berks County native stabbed in New York

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 02 2013 09:30:12 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2013 10:34:01 PM CDT

A man went on a stabbing spree in Manhattan Tuesday morning, slashing five people, including a toddler with a pair of scissors.

A man went on a stabbing spree in Manhattan Tuesday morning, slashing five people, including a toddler with a pair of scissors. One of the victims is from Berks County.

Deanna Koestel graduated from Wilson High School and went on to become an attorney in New Jersey. But right now she is in the hospital fighting for her life after she was violently stabbed.

"People were like "Don't go there, don't go there. There is a man stabbing people. And so we saw the cops move up and we walked over to the area and we saw them tackle the guy to the ground," said witness Jessica Wenzell.

Witnesses describe the panic in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan Tuesday morning, as a homeless man stabbed five people.

"Shocked. Shocked that you are out enjoying your morning run and all of a sudden you are being stabbed by a crazy person. Everyone just looked like they were numb and shocked," said Wenzell.

One of the victims is Deanna Koestel. Koestel attended Wilson High School in West Lawn, then went on to the University of Maryland and Temple before becoming an attorney at Norris McLaughlin & Marcus in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Koestel was honored as Volunteer of the Year for her work with a non-profit organization called Healthy Active Responsible Kids.

Police say the suspect responsible for stabbing five people is 43-year-old Julius Graham. He is homeless.

"We could kind of use a little bit more security over here because I know that a lot of homeless people come through here," said Sherita Fields with the Parks Department.

Family members told 69 News off camera that Koestel is progressing in her recovery. All the other victims are also expected to survive.