The student, identified as Davide Giri, 30, was stabbed in the stomach near West 123rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue just before 11pm on Thursday. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai-Saint Luke's Hospital.
Mr Giri was a computer science student and a PhD candidate at Columbia, according to his personal website.
The university's president Lee Bollinger identified the student in an email to the school.
“I write with great sorrow to share the tragic news that Davide Giri, a graduate student at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was killed in a violent attack near campus on Thursday night,” Mr Bollinger said.
A second man was found stabbed as well. Police found him near West 110th Street and Cathedral Parkway, and transported him to the hospital in stable condition.
Police arrested a 25-year-old man they believe may have been involved with the stabbings. The suspect was allegedly threatening a third man with a knife inside of Central Park when he was stopped and taken into custody.
Law enforcement sources told The New York Post that the suspect – who has not been charged – is allegedly a gang member with a long history of violent crimes on his record.
Police claim the man is a member of the Bloods gang offshoot Every Body Killer, and has 11 previous arrests tied to assault and robbery. He went to prison and served two years after he was convicted of gang assault in 2015, according to the New York Department of Corrections records.
In 2019, another student was stabbed to death just a block from where Mr Giri was killed. Barnard student Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed and killed in a robbery that escalated to violence almost two years ago.
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