Within minutes of a stabbing around 10 this morning in the Cortland County Office Building parking lot, city officers arrested a suspect at the scene who had the knife, according to the Cortland Police Department.
Edward Widger, 24, of 218 Port Watson St., was arrested for slicing a 26-year-old man’s arm while he pedaled past him on a bicycle, said Lt. Michael Strangeway in a phone interview at 11:35 a.m.
Witnesses saw Widger slice the other man and called the stabbing in to 911 immediately, said Strangeway. Officers arrived within minutes, found Widger with a folding knife about three-and-a-half inches long and arrested him at the scene, he said.
Police were told Widger and the other man knew each other and the stabbed man may currently be dating a former girlfriend of Widger, Strangeway said.
The man suffered a cut five to seven inches long on his arm and was taken to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center for treatment, he said. The injury was not life-threatening.]The stabbing was a crime of opportunity rather than a planned attack, Strangeway said.
“It’s just where they happened to encounter one another,” he said..
Strangeway attributed the quick arrest to the fast response of witnesses and patrol officers.
“We received a call the moment it happened,” Strangeway said. “We were there moments after the incident.”
This is the fifth violent crime since July 15 in Cortland, according to The Cortland Voice archives.
None of the crimes are related to each other, Strangeway said.
A 68-year-old man was assaulted on July 28 in front of Wild Ginger Asian Fusion at 47 Main St, a 32-year-old man was stabbed the same day on Port Watson Street, an 18-year-old man was shot once on July 25 on Church Street near the intersection of Central Avenue and a 40-year-old city man was robbed at knifepoint on July 15 at a Main Street ATM, according to department releases.
An arrest was made in each of the cases, except for the July 28 Main Street assault, according to police. Social media posts in that case prompted witnesses to stop cooperating with detectives, hampering the investigation, according to the department.
“We’ve had a number of violent incidents in just the last couple of weeks that have led to arrests quickly following the incident,” Strangeway said. “I would attribute that to the quick response of our dedicated uniformed officers.”
Widger was charged with the second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies. He was awaiting arraignment in City Court this afternoon.
In 2014, Widger was convicted of third-degree burglary and sentenced to two to six years in state prison, according to Cortland County Court records. As a convicted felon, it was illegal for Widger to possess the knife, according to the state penal law.