Share This Page

NYC mayor: Keep subway deaths in perspective

| Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 7:54 p.m.
Commuters walk on the platform as a train enters the 40th St-Lowry St Station, where a man was killed after being pushed onto the subway tracks, in the Queens section of New York, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. Police are searching for a woman suspected of pushing the man and released surveillance video Friday of her running away from the station. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK — For New York City, it wasn't an unusual sight: a possibly mentally ill woman pacing and mumbling to herself on an elevated subway station platform.

The woman eventually took a seat on a bench on Thursday night, witnesses later said. Then, without any warning or provocation, she sprang up and used both hands to shove a man into the path of an oncoming train.

As police sought on Friday to locate the unidentified woman, Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged residents to keep the second fatal subway shove in the city this month in perspective. The news of the horrific death of a 46-year-old man from India came as the mayor touted drops in the city's annual homicide and shooting totals.

“It's a very tragic case, but what we want to focus on today is the overall safety in New York,” Bloomberg told reporters after a police academy graduation.

The New York Police Department released a sketch of the woman and surveillance video of her fleeing the area and interviewed witnesses, including some who described her as acting agitated before the attack.

Some witnesses said the man had been shielding himself from the cold by waiting in a stairwell before he ventured out onto the platform to see if the train was coming. They said he had no interaction with the woman, who immediately darted down a stairway after she pushed him.

Investigators identified the victim, who lived alone in Queens, through a smartphone and a prescription pill bottle he was carrying. They delayed releasing his name while they worked to notify his relatives in India.

Detectives were following leads from the public generated by the video and were checking homeless shelters and psychiatric units in a bid to identify the woman, described as Hispanic, heavyset, about 5-foot-5 and in her 20s.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.