Woman dies after being pushed on subway tracks in Times Square

A woman was killed Saturday morning after being pushed in front of an oncoming subway train at the Times Square station, police said.

The woman stood on the platform around 9:30 a.m. waiting for the train to arrive at the station on 42nd Street in Manhattan, police said. When a Brooklyn-bound R train pulled into the station, she was pushed onto the tracks and hit by it.

She died at the scene, police said. Her name was not immediately released.

Officers took a man they said might be homeless into custody shortly after, and he was still being questioned around 11 a.m., police said. A second man is also being questioned, police said.

Mayor Eric Adams traveled to the station on Saturday and was scheduled to hold a press conference with police and traffic officials in the afternoon.

The woman killed was Asian, although it was unclear if she was being targeted because of her race or ethnicity.

Unprovoked attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic, including several on the subway system, have stoked fear and anger in New York and elsewhere, with activists and elected officials pointing to both mental illness and the impact of the rhetoric China has used for blames the coronavirus.

Saturday’s murder is at the center of several issues that have raised concerns about subway safety among some New Yorkers since the pandemic began. It came after state and city officials this month announced changes to how police would operate in the transit system and work with homeless people to lure more drivers back.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mr Adams have said the more than 2,000 officers tasked with patrolling the system will conduct more regular checks of subway platforms and trains to address broader crime concerns.

Elected officials said Saturday’s killing underscored the importance of a broader approach to safety and homelessness in the subway system.

“We need to implement better policies to protect New Yorkers who use public transit and to get people the right help they need — mental health and social services,” said Rep. Grace Meng wrote on Twitter after the murder.

The state plans to set up small teams of social workers and medical professionals to provide services as homelessness persists for thousands on the streets and subways. Officials said transit officers would refer teams to better address the needs of people who are homeless or have mental illnesses.

Mr Adams said he believed an underlying “crime perception” had raised concerns among some tube riders.

Transit officials have stressed that major crimes in the system are at their lowest in decades and major crimes overall were at their lowest in 25 years through November. However, ridership has also been significantly lower, and the rate of multiple offenses per million riders has increased since 2019.

High-profile attacks against Asian New Yorkers during the pandemic, along with other episodes such as assaults, stabbings and people being pushed onto train tracks, have also sparked a spate of news reports of violence that transit officials say have stoked fears.

Three murders were reported in the system in 2019; That number doubled to six in 2020. As of November, six murders were also reported in 2021.

Michael Gold contributed reporting.

Comments are closed.