(NEW YORK) — A 74-year-old man returning home from work on Manhattan’s Upper East Side early Tuesday was randomly shoved onto the subway tracks by an apparent neighborhood homeless man muttering to himself, according to police.
The victim, who works at a parking garage on Fifth Avenue, was accused by the victim of staring at him before he was shoved onto the tracks while waiting for the 6 train by a disheveled man in a dirty tee-shirt who may be suffering from mental health issues, police said.
The victim’s injuries seemed to be minor at first, but doctors later determined he has multiple rib and pelvic injuries as well as a spine fracture, according to the NYPD. His back and neck landed on the tracks, police added.
Detectives recovered video of both the attack and the suspect leaving the station.
While the attack does not match any pattern, there are incidents involving a homeless man in the neighborhood that are under investigation.
“Crime is down 4 ½ percent in the subway system this year versus last year. That 4 ½ percent reduction translates to 70 less crime victims this year compared to last year,” NYPD Transit Chief Michael Kemper said. “Fortunately, incidents like this are rare. but when they do occur, it is our top priority to apprehend and arrest those individuals that did it.”
Ten people have been pushed onto subway tracks so far this year, almost half of the 19 at this point last year, according to police.
Last November, Mayor Eric Adams issued a directive that would send officers, EMS workers and other city agents to involuntarily take individuals who appear “to be mentally ill” and “a danger to themselves” into custody for psychiatric evaluations. It was a strategy meant to combat homelessness and mental health issues.
“Without that intervention, they remain lost and isolated from society, tormented by delusions and disordered thinking,” Adams said at the time. “They cycle in and out of hospitals and jails, but New Yorkers rightly expect our city to help them and help them we will.”
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