Ben Parker/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

February 28, 2020

Panic Strikes Agava Wednesday Night After Stabbing Critically Injures Two

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Agava Restaurant’s Salsa Night ended in panic after a stabbing critically injured two, including a Cornell student who intervened late Wednesday night.

The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene around 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday, where police officers found two individuals who had been stabbed, a Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department press release said.

Nicholas Hudson ’20, the student involved, is expected to make a full recovery, Maria Hudson ’78, his mother, told The Sun in a Thursday evening phone call. Maria was at her son’s hospital bedside late Thursday.

Maria heard about the incident while in St. Louis — a friend of Nick riding in the ambulance to the hospital contacted her while “holding pressure on [Nick’s] wound,” she said.

Nick did not know either of the individuals involved in the altercation, she said.

“[Nick] was fearing for his friends … He stepped in to push [the people fighting] apart,” Maria said.

The other injured individual was Daquan Graves, 26, who is currently in “critical, but stable condition” at another regional hospital, according to the release.

Nick underwent one surgery on Thursday, and will undergo a second surgery on Friday, according to his father, William Hudson.

The suspect, who fled the scene, was described by the release as male, between 5’8” and 5’10”, in his late 20s to early 30s and wearing a black leather jacket at the time of the incident. In the press release, the police included a security camera image of the suspect and a photo of the suspect’s blue Chicago Bulls hat.

Alice Navadeh ’21 had just arrived at Agava shortly before midnight with friends when chaos erupted. The group was waiting to get their wristbands checked by a bouncer when a crowd of people began running toward the exit, Navadeh said.

Navadeh then saw a man in a bloody white undershirt run past her.

“I’d never seen anything like it before,” Navadeh said. “I’m honestly still pretty shaken up by it.”

Navadeh quickly alerted her friends in the Kappa Delta sorority, posting a warning in a GroupMe message.

Another Cornell student, Sarah Prokop ’21, was salsa dancing on the dance floor just before midnight, before the DJ cut the music.

Prokop said that people on the ground floor did not realize what had happened — a group started a chant of “no music, no music!”

When the chant started, a bouncer instructed the people on the dance floor to be quiet because the situation was “serious,” and that emergency services were coming and that they needed to leave the premises, Prokop said.

Emergency services arrived quickly, including five police cars, an ambulance, a fire truck, K-9 dogs and high beams police lights, Prokop said.

Prokop said that they thought there had just been a bar brawl and that it wasn’t until later that they heard that there had been a stabbing.

Agava tweeted on Thursday morning that a personal dispute “resulted in two people receiving injuries.” The restaurant also stated that its private security company was on site at the time of the incident, and that the suspect fled the scene in a white Nissan Altima.

The car was found unattended in Lansing later that night, CUPD said.

A manager who answered the phone at Agava on Thursday declined to comment to The Sun.

Cornell sent a crime alert at 2:48 a.m. on Thursday to the campus community, saying that the Tompkins County 911 Center originally reported there were three individuals stabbed. At the scene, officers only found two individuals stabbed.

Cornell University spokesperson John Carberry released a statement on Thursday: “Cornell was notified by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department that a Cornell student was stabbed while attempting to intervene during an altercation at a local restaurant last evening. Our prayers go out to our student and to the second victim of the attack, and to their families and friends.”

Carberry encouraged anyone with information to reach out to the Sheriff’s Office.

Agava — located on Pine Tree Road, a mile and a half from Collegetown — reopened on Thursday for lunch and dinner “as usual.” However, Salsa Night will be canceled until police complete their investigation, the restaurant tweeted.

Salsa Night at Agava is a weekly late-night event, popular among Cornellians and Ithacans. Agava’s bar on Wednesdays remains open until 1 a.m., two hours later than on other nights.

Chris Sayers ’20, Daniel Farthing ’20 and Alec Hopping ’20 — who were all at Agava with Nick Wednesday night — followed the ambulance to the hospital, Maria said. The three declined to comment. The next morning, Sayers and Farthing brought Maria coffee and doughnuts as well as Nick’s car so she could get around.

Maria said that her son is “not like an aggressive person at all.”

“We’re proud that he wanted to make a difference in a situation where he saw he could make an impact,” William, his father, said. “But he paid a very harsh price.”

Sarah Skinner ’21 contributed reporting to this article.