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February 2, 2023
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Asian woman pushed to her death in front of oncoming train in NYC

Asian woman pushed to her death in front of oncoming train in NYC

A woman was pushed to her death in front of an oncoming train in New York City on Saturday morning.

New York City police said the incident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. in a Times Square subway station near 42nd Street and Broadway.

The 40-year-old woman was shoved onto the tracks and struck by a southbound R train, a police spokesperson said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police and transit crew members investigate a deadly assault Saturday on a Times Square subway platform.NBC New York

The man believed responsible fled the scene but turned himself in to transit police a short time later, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a news conference with Mayor Eric Adams at the station.

“This incident was unprovoked, and the victim does not appear to have had any interaction with the subject,” Sewell said.

Crime statistics in New York City showed a significant increase in anti-Asian hate crimes last year. By December 2021, incidents targeting Asians rose by 361 percent compared with the year before, the NYPD said late last year.

Anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents have spiked across the country during the pandemic.

A second woman told police the man had approached her minutes earlier and she feared he would push her onto the tracks.

“He approaches her and he gets in her space. She gets very, very alarmed,” Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox said, describing the earlier encounter. “She tries to move away from him and he gets close to her, and she feels that he was about to physically push her onto the train. As she’s walking away she witnesses the crime where he pushes our other victim in front of the train.”

Police on Saturday night identified the suspect as 61-year-old Simon Martial. Martial, who police said is homeless, was charged with second-degree murder. It was not immediately known whether he had an attorney who could comment.

Wilcox said Martial has a criminal history and has been on parole.

“He does have in the past three emotionally disturbed encounters with us that we have documented,” he said.

Subway conditions and safety have become a worry for many New Yorkers during the pandemic. Although police statistics show major felonies in the subways have dropped over the past two years, so has ridership, making it difficult to compare.

In September, three transit employees were assaulted in separate incidents on one day. Several riders were slashed and assaulted by a group of attackers on a train in lower Manhattan in May, and four separate stabbings — two of them fatal — happened within a few hours on a single subway line in February.

In recent months there have been several instances of people being stabbed, assaulted or shoved onto the tracks at stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and at Times Square.

Adams, who has been mayor for two weeks, has noted that a perception of danger could drive more people to eschew 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 receive the right mental health services, particularly on our subway system,” the mayor said Saturday. “To lose a New Yorker in this fashion will only continue to elevate the fears of individuals not using our subway system.”

“Our recovery is dependent on the public safety in this city and in the subway system,” Adams said.

Crime statistics in New York City showed a significant increase in anti-Asian hate crimes last year. By December 2021, incidents targeting Asians rose by 361 percent compared with the year before, the NYPD said late last year.

Anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents have spiked across the country during the pandemic.Six police officers were assigned to the station Saturday, authorities said.

Joining Adams last week to discuss the state of the subways, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was planning to put together five teams of social workers and medical professionals to help the city guide people living on streets and subways to shelter, housing and services.

Both Hochul and Adams are Democrats.

Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.

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