Suspect in Custody in Possible Subway Pepper Spray Hate Crimes

What to Know

  • A suspect is in custody in a bizarre series of spray attacks on subway passengers on Friday
  • The NYPD is investigating the attacks as a possible hate crime; the suspect is black and all the victims white
  • The victims said they believed they had been sprayed with mace or pepper spray

A suspect is in custody after a bizarre series of spray attacks on Manhattan subway passengers Friday afternoon, which police are probing as a possible hate crime.

The woman was arrested Saturday, the NYPD said. They confirmed her name as Thomas J. Heard, 37, of the Bronx. Heard, who is transgendered, was arrested after assaulting another young woman in the Bronx, police said.  

The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force was investigating and also looking into whether a separate spray assault in the Bronx on Friday was related. (The suspect is black, and all seven victims are white.)

Police said the woman sprayed victims with an "unknown chemical substance" that victims believe to be mace or pepper spray.

The woman first targeted a subway station in Harlem at 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue on Friday around noon. One man was hit in his eye at close range.

Authorities say she then left the station and sprayed five more people on the street.

Minutes later, a woman was sprayed in the station at West 96th Street and Broadway.

"She just walked up to me, literally walked up, maced me and kept walking," victim Joshua Smith told News 4 New York.

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