New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – A 39-year-old man was stabbed to death during an argument over a game prize inside Times Square’s Dave & Buster’s, police said Sunday.
Allen Stanford turned in his winning tickets at the arcade-themed restaurant about 10:45pm Saturday and was reaching for a yellow drone on a top shelf in the prize room when he got into a fight with his killer, according to a restaurant worker who reviewed surveillance footage of the attack said.
The stabber feared the drone was going to fall off the shelf and strike a small girl with him, according to the worker.
“The guy that did it was with a child and a woman,” said the employee, who wished not to be named. “(The victim) accidentally dropped the drone near the little girl. It almost fell on her. That’s when they fought.”
The little girl and an older woman, believed to be the child’s grandmother, had walked off just before the fight began.
As the two came to blows, Jesse Armstrong, 41, who has multiple face and neck tattoos, allegedly jammed a large knife into the victim’s chest before leaving the third-floor eatery on W. 42nd St. near Eighth Ave.
“It was pretty brutal. (The knife) was pretty huge,” the employee said. “They were punching each other and that’s when (Armstrong) pulled out the knife from his back pocket and he stabbed him. It’s wild actually. He literally just puts the knife away in his back pocket and just walks out.”
Medics rushed Stanford, who lived in Washington Heights, to Mount Sinai Morningside but he could not be saved.
A Dave & Busters employee gave cops a detailed description of Armstrong, who was wearing a green hoodie, and members of the NYPD’s Times Square detail nabbed the suspect a short distance from the restaurant.
Cops charged Armstrong, who lives in Harlem and has an extensive criminal history, with murder. His arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court was pending Sunday.
Stanford also has an arrest record, police sources said.
“We are fully cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation,” a spokesman for Dave & Buster’s said in a statement. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with those affected by this terrible incident.”
Stanford’s blood was left splattered all over the prizes. Dave & Busters closed after the stabbing and reopened Sunday after a thorough cleaning.
“You would never know that something occurred,” Liza White, 36, said when she showed up with her family Sunday morning. “Because kids come here with excitement and parents we thrive off of that.”
“That’s a very scary situation to encounter,” she said of the stabbing. “We all come to have a good time. Why can’t we have that good time?”
Manhattan mom Elaine Ball was planning to celebrate her daughter’s 12th birthday at Dave & Busters Saturday night but they never made it because dinner ran late. She brought her daughter there Sunday instead.
“We were so lucky that we weren’t here. Horrible,” said Ball, 48. “She definitely still wanted to come this morning.”
“Our employees, they’re on the younger side, like 18 and 19 and they had to witness that,” said the staffer. “I was concerned about them. You’ll see like arguments and people fighting but its never gotten this bad to the point where someone is stabbed.”
“I’m expecting a lot of calls out today,” he added.
Top Feature Photo: Cops investigate the stabbing at Dave & Buster’s on W. 42nd St. in Times Square – Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News