MTA Says Deadly Times Square Subway Shove Shouldn't Have Happened, More Cops Needed

A 40-year-old Asian woman was pushed to her death in what appears to have been an unprovoked attack at a Times Square subway station over the weekend

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The deadly push of a 40-year-old Asian woman onto subway tracks in Times Square, an apparently unprovoked horror that stirred national outrage, shouldn't have happened, MTA officials said Tuesday as they talked of the need for more police and other resources in the transit system to address the mentally ill.

The MTA addressed the killing of Michelle Alyssa Go during a Q&A session at an unrelated briefing. It said its workforce, like many others, has been plagued by COVID-induced staff shortages that have forced service cuts, among other issues.

Whether that factored into the demise of Go or how much may never be known but the MTA's challenges come amid a pandemic that sparked an increase in anti-Asian crimes throughout New York City and, separately, further exposed the crisis of mentally ill and homeless people in the subways, promoting new calls to action.

Mayor Eric Adams, who has vociferously condemned the attack, in his first week in office held a joint news conference with Gov. Kathy Hochul in which both vowed to increase homelessness outreach throughout the city's subway system, addressing a quality-of-life issue core to Adams' push to get workers back to offices in the city.

Alongside that effort, Adams said NYPD cops on patrol would additionally be tasked with going into the subway system and conducting visual inspections to identify potential public safety issues. Homelessness outreach was still to be left to what the new mayor coined as Safe Options and Support (SOS) teams.

Those multidisciplinary teams were to be comprised of eight to 10 professionals with experience ranging from social work to medicine and other related fields. The NYPD also pledged to deploy hundreds more officers to subways, a surge designed potentially to counteract the widespread perception of a crime-riddled transit system and individuals who are experiencing homelessness on the subways.

The individual accused of killing Go Saturday by pushing her off the Q/R platform near 42nd Street and Broadway into the path of an oncoming train fits that description, authorities have said. He also has a history of mental illness.

That man, 61-year-old Simon Martial, fled the scene after Go's killing but later surrendered to police. Law enforcement officials have said he has at least three past emotionally disturbed encounters with the NYPD, was likely experiencing homelessness at the time of Saturday's incident and has several prior arrests.

Martial was not believed to have had any interaction with Go prior to the shove, officials have said. He has been charged with second-degree murder in the case.

Attorney information for him wasn't immediately clear Tuesday.

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