CRIME STOPPERS

New Photos Released in NYC Street Ambush Death of 87-Year-Old Voice Coach

A top NYPD official on Tuesday called the case a "disgusting, disgraceful offense committed against a vulnerable, elderly female who was doing nothing but walking down the streets of New York City."

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A woman wanted in connection to the death of a beloved 87-year-old singing coach who died after she was shoved from behind in Manhattan has evaded police for more than a week.

The NYPD on Friday released new photos of the alleged woman behind the "unprovoked, senseless attack" on March 10 that led to the death of Barbara Gustern. A top NYPD official said Tuesday the 87-year-old had died from injuries sustained in the night-time attack.

New photos appearing to show the woman inside a city subway station give the clearest image yet of the alleged suspect seen previously in surveillance footage walking a sidewalk at night.

The woman wanted in connection to Gustern's death has evaded police for over a week.

Gustern was on West 28th Street and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea, just steps away from her home, around 8:30 p.m. when cops say the suspect -- a woman with long curly hair -- attacked her. No words were exchanged before it.

Gustern fell and hit her head, suffering traumatic brain damage from which she would not recover, authorities and the woman's grandson have said. On Gustern's Facebook page, her grandson said Tuesday that "at 11:15AM, we have lost on the brightest little flames to ever grace this world."

NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig pleaded Tuesday for the public's help "solving this disgusting, disgraceful offense committed against a vulnerable, elderly female who was doing nothing but walking down the streets of New York City."

An 87-year-old grandmother and notable Broadway voice coach is now clinging to life after she was shoved to the ground outside her home in Chelsea. NBC New York's Jessica Cunnington reports.

Gustern's grandson posted a Facebook message early Monday saying "I am here holding her hand" and that his loved one had not regained consciousness. He went on to say he is "incomprehensibly broken inside."

"I struggle to understand and cope with this world on a daily basis, and frankly this is beyond my ability to bear," he added. "Do what you can for your fellow human being, no matter how small. Make the time. Preventing needless loss and violence like this starts with us as individuals. We must care more for each other."

According to The New York Times, Gustern was an acclaimed singing coach who once helped train rock singer Debbie Harry and the cast of the 2019 Broadway revival of the musical "Oklahoma!" A neighbor said that Gustern used to perform on Broadway herself, along with her late husband.

The paper reports she was attacked shortly after leaving her home. Her Facebook page was overwhelmed with support from friends and colleagues who kept sharing around the surveillance video police provided, desperate to find her attacker.

Police said the woman who shoved the 87-year-old just walked away after the incident. Authorities released surveillance video of her on the street (below).

Stephen Shanaghan, who owns Manhattan restaurant and theater Pangea, called Gustern a "sharp, clever seasoned New York person." Shanaghan said that Gustern had recently performed there, and that she had hoped to premiere a new cabaret show there.

"They sing and they tell stories, it's very heartwarming. And they've done several different shows here," Shanaghan said.

As the family makes funeral arrangements, police have posted flyers around the neighborhood offering a $3,500 reward for any information that helps them find the woman seen in the surveillance video. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Police are looking for a woman who allegedly shoved an 87-year-old woman from behind without warning in Manhattan last week, causing her to fall and hit her head and sending her to the hospital with traumatic brain damage, authorities and the woman's grandson say.
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