Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Subway Push Suspect Accused in Correction Officer Assault

The woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of an oncoming subway train became violent at a hospital Monday, assaulting a correction officer after she saw herself on the television news, a Department of Corrections spokesman said.

Erika Menendez, 31, was inside the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital Center waiting to undergo a psychiatric evaluation when she saw herself on the news and became agitated, the New York Times first reported.

She lashed out at the female correction officer who was with her and pulled the officer's hair, hitting her face in the process, the newspaper reported.

Department of Corrections spokesman Matthew Nerzig confirmed the incident, in which a second correction officer quickly intervened and grabbed Menendez's arm to stop her. Menendez was handcuffed at the time.

The officer was not injured and no additional charges were filed against Menendez.

Menendez was arraigned Saturday night in the death of 46-year-old Sunando Sen, who was crushed by a 7 train in Sunnyside, Queens, last Thursday. She was incoherent during the proceeding, at one point laughing so hard that the judge told her defense lawyer, "You're going to have to have your client stop laughing."

She was ordered held without bail and be given a mental health exam.

Menendez, who had been arrested several times starting when she was young, admitted shoving Sen, who was pushed from behind, authorities said. She was arrested after a tip by a passerby who saw her on a street and thought she looked like the woman in a surveillance video released by police.

"I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up," Menendez told police, according to the district attorney's office.

A funeral was held for Sen Tuesday. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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