updated 4/20/2011 11:31:11 AM ET 2011-04-20T15:31:11

A woman was stabbed in the face with a pen on a New York City subway train after she tried to stop a man from lighting a cigarette, police say.

The assault occurred on a crowded No. 3 train near the Chambers Street station during Tuesday's morning rush. Smoking is not allowed on the trains.

Police told The New York Daily News that Caroberto Cordero, 35, had a cigarette on his lip and was trying to light it when Evelyn Seeger, 45, told him to stop.

Witnesses told the Daily News and the New York Post that an argument quickly escalated. Cordero, who is homeless according to The Daily News, waved a lighter in front of Seeger's face. Seeger started yelling, and witnesses said two riders were trying to restrain the man when he pulled out a pen and slashed her face.

"I looked up and the woman had blood gushing from her face. Someone yelled, 'He stabbed her in the eye!'" Ronethea Williams said.

Police arrested Cordero for felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The Associated Press and The New York Daily News contributed to this report.

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