subway crime

‘We Have to Be Afraid:' 2nd NYC Subway Hammer Attack Victim in 12 Days Recounts Terror

"It’s hard because we have to be afraid, just be constantly aware, like be afraid of anyone who is passing by you," the victim said. "And you know, who knows what they have, you know. It’s not really a way to live."

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The subway rider brutally bashed in the head with a hammer by an individual he says intentionally bumped into him after harassing someone else on a Manhattan platform says he had no time to argue before the blow and is now terrified.

The victim, who asked his name be withheld, says he was with a friend with whom he had just had dinner Tuesday. They were on their way home and encountered the suspect near the turnstiles at the 14th Street station around 9 p.m.

"We saw the assailant come out from the turnstile," the victim said. "As he was coming out he bumped into another individual that was in front of us."

Words were exchanged between those two, according to the victim. Then the suspect walked the victim's way and allegedly intentionally bumped into him, though he says he tried to move to the side to avoid contact.

"He turned around, trying to get in my face, get in my face aggressively," the victim said, adding the stranger ended up stepping on his foot in the process.

What happened next was captured on video shot by the man's friend. It shows the suspect screaming at the victim -- something about, "Don't you see me walking here? Don't you have eyes? Open your eyes!', as the victim recalled."

Then the hammer came out. The victim was hit on the left side of his head.

"I just saw him reaching into a bag, pull something out -- and I saw that," he said of the hammer. "It happened too quick for me to react, I tried to put my hand up because I was expecting something but I just got hit regardless."

It happened right by the subway booth, though it wasn't clear if an agent was inside at the time. Police initially said the victim had suspect had some sort of argument, but the victim says the two had no dispute. He says the suspect was the aggressor.

He also says the suspect threatened the friend who shot the video."

The victim, who says he has spent the time since the attack in a constant state of fear, described the sharp pain he felt. He said there was blood pouring down the side of his head and that he was too shocked and dazed to do much.

Now he just wants the suspect in custody.

"I want to get him locked up because he was clearly aggressive," the victim said. "He was looking for trouble."

The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and is expected to be physically OK. A senior NYPD official says cops are investigating the case as a possible hate crime.

"It’s very sad what we are facing. We are trying to live our life as well as we can and it’s just unfortunate that we have to face all these adversities along with just all the struggles of life and it’s just unnecessary conflict," the victim said of the current state of subway crime. "It’s unfortunate the city is the way it is."

"It’s hard because we have to be afraid, just be constantly aware, like be afraid of anyone who is passing by you," he added. "And you know, who knows what they have, you know. It’s not really a way to live."

No arrests have been made in his case. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

The incident comes almost two weeks after New York City started its new “Subway Safety Plan”, a 17-page program to fight the massive spike in transit crime in the still-recovering city. But instead of going down, major transit crimes were up 30% week over week in the first part of the rollout, with felony assaults nearly doubling.

Extra patrols are on the subways as part of Mayor Eric Adams' plan to address crime in New York City. NBC New York's Jessica Cunnington reports.

According to figures from the NYPD CompStat system, there were 55 major crimes in transit the week of February 21, versus 42 the week prior and 18 in the same week a year earlier.

The NYPD also noted a sharp increase in enforcement, with arrests up 64% and criminal summons up nearly 10%. 

The headlines regarding subway violence have been unrelenting in recent weeks. They include a woman brutally beaten in the head with a hammer, another woman assaulted with a bag of feces to the face, plus stabbings, knife attacks and shootings and other manners of violence.

Both City Hall and the NYPD, along with the MTA, have condemned the violence and say they're working to address it.

Concerns of safety within New York's subway system has many in the city turning to self-defense training. NBC New York's Jessica Cunnington reports.
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