Ming Guang Huang, 28, was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation after being arrested on attempted murder and other charges, police said.
The attack unfolded before witnesses and surveillance cameras on Chinatown's main thoroughfare, authorities said. Firefighters getting their trucks ready for their shifts Sunday heard screams across the street from the firehouse and sprang into action to stop the bloody assault, authorities and witnesses said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether Huang had a lawyer or when he would be arraigned, and a message left at a possible phone number for him wasn't immediately returned. His wife was hospitalized; an update on her condition wasn't immediately available Monday.
Firefighters Jose Ortiz and James Trainor were working at the Engine Co. 9, Ladder Co. 6 firehouse around 10:20 a.m. Sunday when they heard a ruckus outside and saw the man dragging his wife, crying and screaming, along Canal Street, Ortiz said.
As the firefighters started toward the couple, the husband yanked out the knife, Ortiz said.
"All of a sudden, I hear the cleaver go up, and he swings down," Ortiz told reporters. "He hit her in the head. ... Now I'm thinking, `I've got to grab this guy."'
Surveillance video appears to show the man slashing at his wife repeatedly as firefighters rush up and pull him off her, pushing him to a fence and then to the ground to subdue him.
Meanwhile, the woman -- whose name hasn't been released -- dashed off down the street, leaving her shoes and spatters of blood on the sidewalk.
"She was running down the street, screaming, `Help!"' Jose Mendez, a 56-year-old building superintendent, told the New York Post.
Firefighter Shane Clarke went after the woman while colleagues flagged down police. They caught up to her about two blocks away.
"We were trying to get her to stop, but she wouldn't let us get near her" at first, Clarke told reporters. Covered in blood and wounded in her head and abdomen, "she was very panicked," he recalled.
She was expected to survive, authorities said.
"I'm happy we were there to help," Ortiz said later. "I'm sorry we weren't there early enough to just stop the whole thing altogether."
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