A woman was pushed to death in front of a subway train at Times Square station on Saturday, police said, just over a week after the mayor and governor announced plans to increase metro police and the proliferation of homeless people in the streets of New York. and train.
The man believed the person in charge fled the scene but reported to the transit police shortly afterwards, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a news conference with Mayor Eric Adams at the station.
The 40-year-old victim, a city resident, was waiting for a southbound R-train around 9:40 a.m. when she was apparently pushed, according to police.
“This incident was unprovoked and the victim does not appear to have had any interaction with the subject,” Sewell said.
Another woman told police that the man had approached her a few minutes earlier and she feared he would push her onto the rails.
“He approaches her and he enters her room. She gets very, very upset,” said Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox, describing the previous meeting. “She tries to move away from him and he gets close to her, and she feels like he was physically pushing her up on the train. As she walks away, she witnesses the crime, where he pushes our second victim in front of the train. “
Police on Saturday night identified the suspect as 61-year-old Simon Martial. Martial, who according to police is homeless, was charged with second-degree murder. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer who could speak.
Wilcox said Martial has a criminal history and has been on parole.
“He has in the last three emotionally disturbed encounters with us, as we have documented,” he said.
Subway conditions and safety have become a concern for many New Yorkers during the pandemic. Although police statistics show that major crimes on the subways have dropped over the last two years, the number of passengers has also dropped, making it difficult to compare.
And some recent attacks have garnered public attention and raised alarms. In September, three transit workers were assaulted in separate incidents in one day. Several riders were chopped and assaulted by a group of attackers on a train in lower Manhattan in May, and four separate stab wounds – two of them fatal – happened within hours on a single metro line in February.
In recent months, there have been several cases of people being stabbed, assaulted or pushed onto the rails at stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and in Times Square.
Adams, who has been mayor for two weeks, has noted that a perception of danger could cause more people to dodge the subway, complicating the city’s economic recovery as it tries to draw people back to offices, tourist attractions and more.
“We want to continue to highlight how imperative it is that people get the right mental health services, especially on our metro system,” the mayor said Saturday. “Losing a New Yorker this way will only continue to increase the fear of individuals who do not use our subway system.”
“Our recovery depends on public safety in this city and in the subway system,” Adams said.
Under his predecessor, Bill de Blasio, the city repeatedly said it exposed more police to subways after attacks last year and pressure from transit officials. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the metro system, accelerated the installation of security cameras in all 472 metro stations throughout the city. finish that project in September.
However, the city has also repeatedly faced complaints in recent years about harsh police work on subways. Protests erupted, for example, after police were seen on video from spectators put handcuffs on a woman who, they said, sold churros without a license at subway stations in 2019 and beat a black teenager during a fight on a subway platform the same year.
Six police officers were assigned to the station on Saturday, authorities said.
When she joined Adams last week to discuss the condition of the subways, Governor Kathy Hochul said she planned to put together five teams of social workers and doctors to help the city guide people living on streets and subways to shelter, housing and services.
Both Hochul and Adams are Democrats.
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