People were less-than-alarmed by a stabbing that occurred at Art Basel in the Miami Beach Convention Center on Friday night. A woman pulled an X-Acto knife out and stabbed another woman in the neck and arms, says Miami Beach police spokesperson Det. Kathleen Prieto. But many of the people at the crime scene remained calm and aloof—they believed the stabbing to be a performance piece, part of the exhibition.
24-year-old Siyuan Zhao is accused of stabbing the woman at the popular art fair. The woman’s injuries were not life-threatening, and Zhao was apprehended by police seconds after the attack. “I had to kill her and two more,” Zhao is reported to have said. “I had to watch her bleed.” People believed that the stabbing was fake and staged, that the police cordoning off a section of the convention center was not real.
A sculptor at the fair, Gregg Hill, told the Miami Herald that he saw the victim being wheeled out of the convention by paramedics, but that he did not suspect an actual crime had been committed. “People didn’t really know what had happened. It was calm and everyone was milling around and talking,” Hill said.
A photo of the victim, covered in blood, was also believed to be fake for a little while until fair-goers realized what had happened was not a staged performance. Two women who asked about the police tape expressed shock at the truth.
“It’s a very strange place for something like this to happen,” said Amanda DeSeta.
“It makes me very nervous,” added Sune Smith.
The crime scene was taken care of quickly. Security at the fair had been bolstered following recent terrorist attacks, but while DeSeta and Smith said their purses had been searched, the search was not very thorough.
The incident was isolated, and Zhao is being charged with attempted felony murder.