Witnesses Rush Stage to Stop Attack on Salman Rushdie

Author Salman Rushdie remained in hospital on Saturday, August 13, after he was stabbed several times during a speaking event on Friday morning at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York.

The New York Times reported that Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, sent an update on Friday evening saying Rushdie, who is 75 years old, would “likely lose one eye” and that “his liver was stabbed and damaged.”

This video from attendee Stephen Davies shows people rushing onto the stage to stop the attack.

Davies said he began filming 10 to 15 seconds after the attack started and told local media the attacker appeared to be “pummeling” Rushdie.

New York State Police said staff and audience members held down the suspect before a State Trooper assigned to the event took them into custody.

The suspect, 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, was charged with attempted murder and assault, police said.

A second man, 73-year-old Ralph Henry Reese, who was on stage to moderate the discussion with Rushdie, sustained a head injury during the attack and was released from hospital on Friday, according to the New York Times.

The Chautauqua Institution said it had cancelled events scheduled for Saturday afternoon in response to the “horrific event.” Credit: Stephen Davies via Storyful

Video transcript


- Medic!

- Medic.

- We need a medic. He's bleeding. Please keep calm.

- Good morning. Good morning. If I could just ask for your attention please and a moment of calm. Given what has just happened, we would like to evacuate the hall, and we would like to do this calmly and carefully. If I could ask that you look up to the exit that's nearest you and calmly make sure you have all of your belongings-- anything left in the amphitheater will be confiscated.

If you could please calmly and quietly evacuate the building and the gates, we would be very grateful. Thank you very much. If you could keep it quiet as you leave, we appreciate this greatly.