A man is in police custody after he allegedly shoved a woman onto train tracks in front of an oncoming New York City Subway car Saturday morning, officials said Saturday. The victim, a 40-year-old Asian woman, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“This was a senseless, absolutely senseless act of violence,” New York City police commissioner Keechant Sewell said Saturday at a press conference.
At around 9:40 a.m., transit police officers responded to reports that someone had pushed another person onto train tracks at the 42nd Street Times Square subway station, Sewell said. Officers found a woman underneath a train with “severe trauma to her body,” Sewell said. The woman, who has not yet been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sewell said the “incident was unprovoked” and that the woman had no previous interaction with the man who allegedly pushed her.
The suspect initially fled before turning himself in to authorities at the NYPD Transit Police station on Canal Street just before 10 a.m., NYPD assistant chief Jason Wilcox said. The man confessed that he pushed the woman, according to Wilcox. Police did not identify the suspect.
Wilcox said the person of interest also had a separate encounter with a different female train rider, who is not Asian, before the fatal incident. The other woman moved away from the man after he approached her and apparently she felt he was going to try to shove her onto the train tracks, he said. She told police that after she walked away, she witnessed the same man push the other woman to her death in front of an oncoming train.
Charges are pending, as the incident is still under investigation, Wilcox said. NYPD is familiar with the suspect, who has had “three emotionally disturbed encounters” with the department, Wilcox said.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority acting chair Janno Lieber said the train operator experienced “incredible trauma” and has been taken to the hospital.
“Our hearts go out to him as well,” Lieber said.
“This is a traumatic experience. To enter this system with the hope of reaching your destination only to come to the conclusion that your loved one lost his or her life,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams, himself a former New York City Transit Police officer, said Saturday.
Last week, Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul said more police officers will be deployed throughout the city’s subway system to combat crime.