The author — whose books have won him awards — was conscious Monday and able to answer questions from investigators, according to a law enforcement official.
It is unclear what Rushdie told investigators after the attack, which shook the literary world and sparked immediate protests around the world.
The suspect in the attack, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, allegedly jumped on stage at the Chautauqua Institute, 70 miles southwest of Buffalo, New York, and repeatedly stabbed Rushdie, according to New York State Police. The suspect was held down by audience members and staff who tackled him to the ground until he was arrested by state troopers.
The author suffered three stab wounds to his neck, four stab wounds to his abdomen, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest, and lacerations to his right thigh, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said during Mater’s arguments over the weekend. While Rushdie may have lost the sight in his right eye, he noted that the attack was targeted and premeditated.
Authorities believe Mutter, who lives in Fairview, New Jersey, took a bus to Buffalo and used a ridesharing app to get to Chautauqua the day before the attack, a law enforcement official who spoke to CNN said.
Investigators don’t know where Mutter spent the night and are working with the agency to find out through surveillance footage whether he was near the area overnight, the official added.
When he was arrested, Mutter was found to have a fake driver’s license, some cash, two Visa prepaid gift cards and no wallet, the official told CNN. When he was taken into custody and asked for an attorney, Mutter refused to answer the officers’ questions, a law enforcement official said.
Nathaniel Barone, a public defender representing Mutter, told CNN that his client has been “very cooperative” and communicating openly.
Mater pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with intent to inflict bodily injury with a deadly weapon, Barone said.
What we know about the suspect
The motive for the attack remains unclear, and authorities are looking for items taken from Mutter’s New Jersey home, according to a law enforcement source.
Peas, who has no documented criminal history, is accused of stabbing her, according to an aggravated complaint.
It is still unclear how he could have entered the event with the knife. There were no security searches or metal detectors at the event, said a witness who CNN did not identify because he expressed concern for his personal safety.
According to people who interacted with him at a boxing gym in North Bergen, New Jersey, Matter was described as quiet and mostly to himself.
State of Fitness Boxing Club owner Desmond Boyle told CNN Peat registered there in April.
“You know that look, that ‘worst day of your life,'” Boyle told CNN.
Gym member Roberto Irizarry told CNN Peat went to the gym three or four times a week and was “a very quiet kid.”
“It’s a brotherly atmosphere, a family atmosphere — we try to get everybody involved. He was there for himself,” Irizarry said.
Matar faces up to 32 years in prison if convicted, the district attorney said.
The US has condemned the Iranian government’s statement
The attack on the famous author drew support from writers and authorities around the world.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by the attack on Rushdie, who is also a British citizen.
“Horrified to see Sir Salman Rushdie stabbed while exercising his right, we must never stop defending. My thoughts are with his loved ones right now.”
Rushdie began living under British protection after Iran issued a fatwa calling for his death.
“We do not blame and cannot condemn anyone other than (Rushdi) and his supporters,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said during a televised news conference.
According to Iranian state media, Kanani said Iranian authorities had learned nothing about the suspect other than what US news media reported. “We categorically and vehemently deny any connection of the attacker with Iran,” Kanani added.
The US State Department condemned Iran’s stance, saying the comments were “disgusting” and “disgusting”.
“It’s no secret that the Iranian regime has been at the center of threats to its life over the years,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price, who called Iran’s “gloating” about the attack “absolutely outrageous.”
“We want to make it very clear that we cannot tolerate this,” Price said.
In 1998, the Iranian government tried to distance itself by pledging not to implement the fatwa. Despite this, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed the religious order.
In February 2017, on Khamenei’s official website, the Supreme Leader was asked if “the fatwa against Rushdi is still in force,” to which Khamenei confirmed, “It is according to the order issued by Imam Khomeini.”
CNN’s Nicky Brown, Liam Reilly, Artemis Moshtaghian, Christina Sguglia, Samantha Beach, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, David Romain, Nooran Salahieh, Adam Pourhmadi, Alex Stambaugh, Michael Conte and Christian Sierra contributed to this report.