Cops are searching for the stranger who grabbed a boy on board a moving subway train in Manhattan, pulled him out into the area between the subway cars and shook him, threatening to throw him onto the tracks, police say.
The 11-year-old boy was with friends on a southbound 4 train in midtown Manhattan last Wednesday afternoon when the man picked up the boy and pulled him in between the subway cars, police said.
The man shook the boy as if he was going to throw him off the train, police said, bumping the boy's head against the side of the train.
The sixth-grader, named Zion, told NBC 4 New York he was on his way home from his Upper East Side school when he saw the man play fighting with a friend. He said he laughed, which apparently angered the man.
"I giggled a little bit, I didn't even mean to," said Zion, the son of a subway electrician.
"He said, 'I should hurt both of you, picked me up by my arms and then took me to the middle of the train car while it was moving and held me over the thing," the boy said.
"I was in shock. I didn't even know what to think," said Zion. "I couldn't even really think, it was just going so fast."
A 26-year-old woman on the train rushed to pull the boy back into the subway car and got off with him at Union Square. The suspect stayed on the train.
"When he banged me against the door, some lady opened the door and then she took me and then she put me in a seat and then she took me to the police office," Zion said.
After the woman brought the boy to police at the Union Square subway station, "I said 'thank you,' and then she hugged me when she was about to leave 'cause she had to go somewhere," Zion said.
Zion's uncle told NBC 4 he was grateful for the good Samaritan's interception.
"Both his father and myself would love to meet her and thank her so much, because I don't know what would have happened without her being there," said Michael Cheeks.
Bruises were still visible on the boy's arms Wednesday from where the man grabbed him.
Cheeks said he and the boy's father have been troubled since the incident and that the two have been speaking about it every day.
"Hopefully they catch this guy real soon," said Cheeks, who said Zion was initially shaken after the attack but has slowly readjusted.
Zion says he has never felt unsafe riding the subway before. He said he now plans to sit in the middle of the subway car or sit in the front or last train "because there's no other car behind the back car so then you could just sit there so no one could do anything to you."
Police have released a sketch of the suspect, who's described as being in his 30s and about 6 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a black sweater and a multi-colored baseball cap.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.