Subways are a primary space of transport that thousands of people rely on as their crucial source of commute. It is also one of the places where one is least expecting a murder or an unfortunate incident to occur, given that you are always surrounded by people. However, even in broad daylight and with over a thousand witnesses, it is not impossible to toe the line.
People reported via an NYPD officer an incident on Wednesday: a 30-year-old woman was pushed into a moving E southbound subway train at the 53rd Street/Fifth Avenue station platform around noon before heading either to or from her place of work. Following the grave and impulsive incident, the New York police arrested a suspect, Sabir Jones, 39, on October 19, 2023, who pushed the woman in front of the train. The subway had been closed off following the incident, causing delays for the passengers.
“He was detained by Newark Police,” the statement shared with PEOPLE via Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé reads. “Jones was transferred to the U.S. Marshals Service.”
Announced by Michael Kemper, the Police Department’s chief of transit, reiterated at a news conference on October 18 afternoon, obtained via People, that the unidentified woman is currently in critical condition and was immediately transported to Cornell Medical Center, where she is undergoing severe treatment.
Kemper said in a statement obtained by People, “As the train was pulling out of the station, she was pushed, causing her head to strike the moving train. The train departed the station, and then she fell onto the roadbed, onto the tracks,” adding, “Fortunately, there were eyewitnesses, and good Samaritans that were on that platform that helped her up back off the roadbed onto the platform.”
The suspect reportedly fled the scene right after the accident, leaving the station at the turnstiles by West 53rd Street and 5th Avenue. The MTA station’s video surveillance, witnesses, and “Good Samaritans” helped identify the suspect and helped the victim, Kemper said during the conference and did not disclose any information on the priors of Jones.
The Time also reports via People that The Bowery Residents’ Committee has, on several accounts, witnessed Jones in several of the community’s outreach practices. Additionally, according to witnesses at the scene of the accident, Jones was viewed as talking to himself before he pushed the woman.
People report MTA Chair Janno Lieber’s statement on the Wednesday Press Conference stating that there has been “tremendous progress on subway crime.” WABC reported that 2022 witnessed 22 deaths, whereas NYPD reports that so far in 2023, 15 deaths were reported, solidifying the statement of better protection in subways.
Lieber stated, as obtained by People, “Crime is 9% down from where it was before COVID,” adding, “But that’s no consolation to the family of this young woman. That’s no consolation at all.” Continuing his statement on the support that should be given to those suffering from mental illness, he says, “We’re going to fight to make sure that the mental health system and the people who are responsible for evaluating the condition of these people, who are having a disproportionate impact on the public space,” adding, “We feel for them, but we need for them to get into treatment and out of the public space.”
Finally, People reported Lieber’s statement, “The subways are what makes New York possible. It’s the only way we could live at this density. And part of the greatness of New York is all this face-to-face interaction,” further adding, “But when things like this happen, we have to double down and work even harder to protect New York.”