subway crime

Police Make Arrest in Hammer-Wielding Subway Attack That Fractured Woman's Skull

The victim, who works as a researcher for New York City's Department of Health, was critically injured in the attack, a senior NYPD official said

NBC Universal, Inc.

A man accused of viciously attacking a 57-year-old woman with a hammer as she entered a Queens subway station was arrested on charges of attempted murder, police announced Sunday.

Authorities say William Blount, also 57, is the man responsible for kicking the woman down the stairs and bludgeoning her over the head with a hammer before robbing her. He's accused of attacking her after following the woman into Queens Plaza subway station in Long Island City Thursday.

Police officials say Blount is also facing charges of robbery and assault. Contact information for his legal representation was not immediately known. Law enforcement sources say Blount has an extensive criminal history of kidnappings, robberies and drug crimes in New York City and South Carolina dating to the early 1980s.

The arrest comes three days after the NYPD released video of the gruesome attack that left her hospitalized with critical injuries.

The victim, who works as a researcher for New York City's Department of Health, was critically injured in the attack, a senior NYPD official said. NBC New York's Myles Miller reports.

The victim, identified in an affidavit and by her employer as Nina Rothschild, was on her way home from work and walking down into the station, which serves the E, M and R lines, around 11:30 p.m., when she was attacked, the senior official said.

Rothschild was ambushed by the stranger, who is seen on video following her into the station about a step behind. Cops say he pulled out the hammer after kicking her down the stairs and hit her with it multiple times in the head.

He then took her purse, which had some cash, two phones, two rings and credit and debit cards, and fled the scene. It's not clear if any words were exchanged.

Officers found Rothschild lying on the ground with trauma to her head. EMS brought the victim to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she was said to be critically injured with a fractured skull and brain bleeding.

Dr. Dave Chokshi, health commissioner for the city, called the attack "horrific" in a statement and said the agency's thoughts were with the woman and her family.

"Nina has worked tirelessly in service to her fellow New Yorkers and she is truly a public health hero," Chokshi said. "The Health Department and I will do everything we can to support her in her recovery—and we ask that all New Yorkers keep her and her family in their thoughts while respecting their privacy during this difficult time."

A 57-year-old woman was kicked down the stairs and bashed in the head with a hammer before being robbed Thursday night at the Queens Plaza subway station in Long Island City, authorities say.

The horrifying attack came less than a week after Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul jointly announced a new subway safety initiative -- one designed to both mitigate recent spikes in violence in the transit system and intensify homeless outreach as the city looks to encourage a rebound of subway use post-COVID.

Officials shared more details on that plan earlier this week, saying it would target six priority lines to start -- the A, E, 1, 2/ 3 (described as a combination target), N, R and 7 -- and include additional police and social services worker deployment.

Thursday's attack marks one of nearly a dozen logged in transit since the announcement.

Contact Us