I don’t pretend to understand what was going on in Michael Enright’s head. The details of this terrible act are coming to light. I hope that everyone will wait and listen to all of the evidence before condemning Mr. Enright.
It was the first fare of the cabdriver’s shift. A young man hailed him at the corner of Second Avenue and East 24th Street, wanting to go to 42nd and Second. It was 6 p.m. on Tuesday; the traffic was dense.
Once the fare, Michael Enright, a 21-year-old film student who had been recently trailing Marines in Afghanistan, settled in the back, he started asking friendly enough questions: Where was the driver from? Was he Muslim?
The driver, Ahmed H. Sharif, 44, said he was from Bangladesh, and yes he was Muslim.
Mr. Enright said, “Salaam aleikum,” the Arabic greeting “Peace be upon you.”
“How’s your Ramadan going?” Mr. Enright asked, Mr. Sharif said.
He told him it was going fine. Then, he said, Mr. Enright began making fun of the rituals of Ramadan, and Mr. Sharif sensed this cab ride might not be like any other.
“So I stopped talking to him,” Mr. Sharif said. “He stopped talking, too.”
As the cab inched up Third Avenue and reached 39th Street, Mr. Sharif said in a phone interview, Mr. Enright suddenly began cursing at him and shouting “This is the checkpoint” and “I have to bring you down.” He said he told him he had to bring the king of Saudi Arabia to the checkpoint.
“He was talking like he was a soldier,” Mr. Sharif said.
He withdrew a Leatherman knife, Mr. Sharif said, and, reaching through the opening in the plastic divider, slashed Mr. Sharif’s throat. When Mr. Sharif turned, he said, Mr. Enright stabbed him in his face, on his arm and on his thumbs.
Mr. Sharif said he told him: “I beg of you, don’t kill me. I worked so hard, I have a family.” (more…)