People have noted that since the mass shooting at the Newtown, Conn. Sandy Hook Elementary School, it seems like there has been an epidemic of shootings — not necessarily mass shootings, though. Is the same thing happening in terms of people being pushed in front of New York City subway trains?
On Thursday night, a man died after being pushed in front of a subway train at a Queens subway station. It was the second subway incident this month. Police released surveillance video on Friday (embedded) that shows the suspect, a woman, running away from the station afterward.
Police have described the incident as follows:
Police said a man was pushed onto the tracks at a Queens subway station Thursday night by a woman who was described by witnesses as mumbling to herself before the attack. She didn’t appear to know her victim, who was killed by a No. 7 train as it barreled into the elevated 40th Street-Lowery Street station in the Sunnyside neighborhood.
The video is from a surveillance camera from a business along Queens Boulevard near the scene. The grainy footage shows a heavy-set woman in a coat walking away from the subway station.
Five witnesses said they saw the woman fleeing from the incident. They described her as a Hispanic woman standing about 5’5″, who appeared to be in her 20s. She was seen wearing a gray, blue and white ski jacket and Nike sneakers with gray tops and red soles.
As of Friday morning, the victim hadn’t yet been identified; he was declared dead at the scene.
On Dec. 3, Ki-Suck Han, 58 years old, died after being pushed onto the tracks at the 49th Street station in Manhattan. Naeem Davis, a 30-year-old homeless man, has been charged with murder in the case, which allegedly occurred after an altercation between the two men.
A photo taken at the time of the incident showed Ki-Suck Han with his head turned toward the train, with his arms reaching up. He was unable to climb off the tracks in time. Publication of the photo raised questions as to whether the photographer should have been trying to help the man.
The photographer, R. Umar Abbasi, said that he was trying to alert the motorman to what was going on by flashing his camera. He expressed dismay that others closer to Han didn’t try to help Han in the approximately 22 seconds before the train struck him.
On Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reminded the public that such occurrences remain rare. “To say that it’s only two in, you know, a long period of time doesn’t help either person. I don’t know what happened here.”