(NEW YORK) — A woman died after she was pushed onto the New York City subway tracks and struck by an oncoming train, police said.
The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Times Square-42nd Street subway station while she was standing on the southbound R-Q train platform.
A man “suddenly pushed” the victim while she was waiting — an unprovoked attack — New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a press briefing Saturday, calling the attack an “absolute senseless act of violence.”
Police found the woman under the train with “severe trauma” to her body and she was pronounced dead at the scene, Sewell added.
Authorities identified the victim as a 40-year-old Asian woman and New York City resident. Her name is being withheld pending family notification.
The suspect, who is believed to be homeless and known to authorities, fled the scene but turned himself in a short while later, police said.
NYPD Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox said detectives are working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to determine the charges.
Sewell said they are “investigating all avenues” when asked if hate crime charges were being considered amid increased violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic. Police believe the suspect may have approached another person on the platform who is not Asian right before attacking the victim, she noted.
John “Janno” Lieber, acting chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, called the incident “unacceptable.”
“This is a sad day,” he said at the briefing, held in the train station where the woman died. “A New Yorker was going about her business right in the heart of our city, in the heart of our subway system in Times Square, and she lost her life. This is unconscionable.”
“New Yorkers need a safe system,” he added.
Mayor Eric Adams said the attack highlights the importance of those in crisis receiving mental health services to ensure that the city’s streets “above ground and below ground” are safe.
“We’re going to continue to do everything that’s possible to make our subway system safe,” he said at the briefing, “but again, we’re calling on all of our partners, from lawmakers to law enforcement, VAs to judges, to ensure those who need mental health assistance receive that.”
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