NEW YORK CITY, NY (WNBC) -- A 52-year-old daycare worker allegedly stabbed five people, including three baby girls no more than a month old, at an overnight facility in Queens early Friday, and cops say they found a butcher knife and meat cleaver at the scene.
A 3-day-old girl and a 1-month-old girl were stabbed in the stomach; a 20-day-old girl had a laceration to her ear, chin and lip. All are in critical but stable condition, authorities said. Two other people, a father of a child at the day care and another woman who worked there, were also stabbed at the Flushing center just before 4 a.m. Friday. The woman was stabbed eight times in the torso.
Police say the 52-year-old woman was found unconscious on the basement floor of the day care center on 161st Street with her left wrist slashed in what police say was a self-inflicted wound. She is in police custody at a hospital; officials said she has regained consciousness, but it's unclear if she's talking. Charges are pending.
Authorities say it appears the stabbing spree started with an attack on the adult female. The 31-year-old father who was injured intervened and was stabbed in the leg; then the attack on the children began. Someone called 911.
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It wasn't clear whether the stabbed father's child was one of the infants stabbed. He, along with the worker stabbed in the torso, are hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
Nine babies -- five girls, four boys -- were in the house at the time. Police say some other parents were there as well. It wasn't clear whether the facility was licensed or why it had so many newborns there at the time of the stabbing; state records indicate there was a registered business at the location.
An official briefed on the investigation tells News 4 it was a maternity center. Mothers would go there with their newborns and workers would help take care of the babies. It’s also a place where foreigners could have their babies here and those children would become American citizens.
Separately, NYPD officials said there was paperwork indicating it was a daycare, though they are looking more into the exact nature of the center.
No possible motive has been revealed. Police said they received one 311 call there years ago -- a call about children screaming in 2011.
Video from the scene showed a heavy police presence, with dozens of law enforcement vehicles and officers swarming the scene. Later, officers accompanied by cops in white biohazard suits were seen carrying large bags to a specialized crime scene unit truck.