A homeless man is in custody Friday after allegedly stealing a woman's purse, then shoving her onto the subway tracks at the 42nd Street-Times Square station, according to police.
Bystanders helped the woman up after she was pushed around 1:45 p.m. as a train on the N/Q/R/W line was approaching the station, and stopped the man who allegedly pushed her. He was later charged with assault as a hate crime.
First responders could be seen pushing the victim in a wheelchair on the subway platform, before carrying her out of the station. The victim was taken to a hospital with head and neck injuries from the violent attack.
MTA officials said the incident was frighteningly close to being even worse, saying that the train operator was able to stop in time and did not strike the woman while she was on the tracks.
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was "horrified" by the incident, and is working with the MTA and city partners to make the transit system safer.
The MTA maintains that they want to see more police officers in the subways, and said their focus is on increasing the officers' visibility inside stations. Advocates say they want action.
"What we've been saying is we need 200 social workers, you get 200 mental health professionals, you bring them in the subway station, you sweep every subway station and every train car, and you help the mentally ill before they get off their medications and they push someone on the tracks. That is called common sense," said Charlton D'Souza, of the riders advocacy group Passengers United.