One man is dead and police arrested another following an early morning altercation that turned into a stabbing in downtown Cortland, city police said.
The victim, Damien Grant, 32, of 10 Woodruff St., was in the pocket park area between Community Restaurant, 10 Main St., and Pawn Boss, 16 Main St., about 2:15 a.m. when, for reasons investigators have yet to discover, his assailant stabbed him once in the chest.
Andrew J. Pilcher, 32, of 6 Main St., was arrested this morning and charged with first-degree manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence, felonies; and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor.
Pilcher was awaiting arraignment this afternoon in city court. Police said they did not believe Grant and Pilcher knew each other.
Grant walked north toward Groton Avenue, blood dripping, where TLC Emergency Medical Services ambulance medics were first on the scene, found him and treated him, Lt. David Guerrera said. The medics took Grant to Cortland Regional Medical Center, where he later died.
Investigators from the state police Forensic Identification Unit were at the scene before 7 a.m., cordoning it off and collecting evidence. They focused on the park bench facing Main Street, but also walked Grant’s path to Groton Avenue, examined trash cans and took photographs. They marked cigarette butts, a pack of cigarettes and blood stains. A little after 8 a.m. police closed the street to deploy a drone to take video of the area.
Guerrera said Grant’s family was being notified. “A portion of the Main Street area by Groton Avenue will be closed off to pedestrian traffic until the scene is released.”
Susie Vinson, who lives at 22 1/2 Main St. right above the Daily Grind, said she heard nothing, not even the sirens.
“Before a couple years ago, it was never like this,” she said.
Ivy Miller of 8 Lincoln Ave., about a block north of the attack, said she’s been calling family and friends all morning to make sure it wasn’t any of them, but hadn’t heard much back, yet.
“I was baffled by it,” she said. “You don’t hear about things like this happening in Cortland. I’m hoping and praying it’s not someone I know.”
A 28-year-old Damien S. Grant of 10 Woodruff St., was arrested in June by the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office and accused of pulling a knife during a June 5 fight, but Cortland police could not confirm the two are the same person. Guerrera did confirm that the victim has a long criminal history.
The Grant in the June incident was charged with second-degree menacing, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors; and second-degree harassment, violation after the incident June 5 involving a man at 26 North St., McGraw. He chased the man out of the residence in the presence of a 12-year-old child. He was arrested and the knife was recovered, police have said.
— Staff Reporter Jacob DeRochie contributed to this article.