Hundreds of mourners gathered on Columbia University’s Manhattan campus Friday night to hold a candlelight vigil for Davide Giri, a graduate student who was randomly stabbed to death near the school.
Many shocked students attended the memorial for Giri, 30, who was attacked in Morningside Park near the campus on his way home from soccer practice on Thursday night.
Some held lit candles while others left flowers for their slain classmate at the quiet, somber ceremony in the center of campus.
Steaming tears also mingled with angry faces as university President Lee Bollinger addressed the mourners.
“Those of us privileged to spend our lives within universities hold dearly to the belief that humanity, at its best, is worth both understanding and striving for with all of our might,” Bollinger said.
“That belief is now especially at this very moment worthy of a redoubled commitment.”
He added: “On behalf of all of us at Columbia, I extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to each and every one of you. And from us I send our love and support to Davide’s parents and family.”
Law-enforcement sources said Giri was heading to his nearby apartment after practicing with his soccer team, NY International FC, when he was stabbed in the gut inside Morningside Park.
The Italian native, who was pursing a Ph.D. in computer science, staggered out of the park and along West 123rd Street before collapsing near Amsterdam Avenue around 10:50 p.m. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital.
At about 11:10 p.m., Italian tourist Roberto Malaspina, 27 — who’d just arrived in the Big Apple on Wednesday — was attacked from behind while walking on West 110th near Columbus Avenue and stabbed in the back and the abdomen, sources said.
He was being treated at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital, where a man who visited him said he’s in good spirits and recovering from his wounds.
Police took Vincent Pinkney, an ex-con and reputed gang member, into custody. He is also being investigated for the stabbing of another tourist — this one from Germany — fewer than 24 hours before Thursday night’s bloodshed, sources said.
Pinkney, 25, is expected to be charged with murder, attempted murder, felony assault, attempted assault and criminal possession of weapon later Friday, police said.
Giri, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science, had moved to New York about eight years ago for school, friends and his website said.
“He was a kind and loving person,” Giri’s grieving girlfriend Ana Gonzalez told The Post on Friday. She said the two had planned a life together after he received his degree.
The university pledged to increase its security presence around campus after outraged students demand greater funding be allocated to protect the school community in response to the slaying.
All students received an email from the school Friday afternoon that said the NYPD would immediately start providing extra protection around Morningside Park.
It’s the same location where Barnard College student Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death almost two years earlier to the day.