Well-known author, Salman Rushdie attacked and reportedly stabbed in Western New York

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Author Salman Rushdie was speaking at an event Friday, when he was reportedly stabbed in the neck.

This happened in Western New York, in Chautauqua County, about 70 miles south of Buffalo.

Rushdie was speaking at the Chautauqua Institution for a discussion on how the U.S. is a home for freedom of creative expression for writers.

New York State Police said the suspect’s name is Hadi Matar, who is 24 years old and from New Jersey. He is in custody, but the motive is not immediately clear.

State police say Matar rushed onto the stage and attacked Rushdie.

Rushdie was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania. As of early Friday evening, he was in surgery and his condition was not immediately known.

Rushdie wrote an extraordinarily controversial book in the 1980s, called the ‘Satanic Versus.’ Critics called it blasphemous to Islam and the prophet Muhammad. The Ayatollah called for his execution and put a $3 million bounty on his head.

A woman who witnessed the attack said she was just devastated because Chautauqua is usually a peaceful and safe place.

“I was pretty much frozen in my steps and took quite a few minutes to get myself to sit down because nobody knew how to react. There were tons of people who rushed to the stage.”

State police also say Matar had a pass to get into the Chautauqua institution, just like others who were attending.

This story is still developing. NewsChannel 13 will update you as new details become available.