Yesterday’s story about a woman who was slashed by two thugs in the Chinatown condo where she worked has a Law & Order twist. Artende Gjeli, 26, was at the front desk of the luxury condo at 123 Baxter Street when the two men came in, asking if rooms were available for rent. They then proceeded to slash Gjeli on the face and legs and also attacked off-duty Detective Martin Carrano. Carrano then shot the attackers, killing one and leaving the other one in critical condition.
Here is where the story becomes more like a movie than a typical crime case. The attackers allegedly were hired by Gjeli’s ex-boyfriend Aleksander Vacaj, who was displeased by her rejection. The story gets even stranger when it turns out that Detective Carrano is the cop who fielded Gjeli’s complaint about Vacaj almost two weeks ago. Gjeli and Carrano hit it off and, according to the Daily News, started dating. Carrano was bringing Gjeli flowers at the time of the attack.
The Daily News has been all over this story since it broke yesterday, placing it on page one and assigning several reporters to cover it (10 total). The Post put five reporters on the beat. Both papers liken the attack to the 1986 slashing of model Marla Hansen, who was attacked after she rebuffed the advances of her landlord. The News even found Hansen and interviewed her about the attack, and she told the paper that stories like this bring back bad memories, but that “Thankfully, enough time has passed that I’m not re-traumatized.”
As the tabloids went to press, Aleksander Vacaj remained at large.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 30, 2008