(NEW YORK) — A woman is in critical condition after being “forcibly shoved” into a moving subway train in New York City and then falling onto the tracks, police said.
The “horrific assault” occurred at the 53rd Street/Fifth Avenue station in midtown Manhattan midday Wednesday, NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kaplan said during a press briefing.
The 30-year-old victim was standing on the platform while a train was pulling out of the station when she was pushed, “causing her head to strike the moving train,” Kaplan said.
The victim then fell onto the tracks, at which point good Samaritans helped her back up on the platform and called 911, Kaplan said.
She was transported to a local hospital with head trauma and underwent surgery, Kaplan said. She is currently in critical condition and is “fighting for her life,” he said.
A suspect in the assault, Sabir Jones, 39, was taken into custody in Newark, New Jersey, on Thursday afternoon, police said.
It is unclear what led up to the assault, Kaplan said. Eyewitnesses are currently being interviewed and the victim has yet to speak to police, he said.
Following the attack, Jones had allegedly fled the location on foot and exited the turnstiles at West 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue, police said.
A second victim came forward to police after seeing reports of the woman being pushed onto the tracks, saying he had been punched in the face by Jones at the same subway station just prior to the woman being attacked.
Jones is a homeless man “known to the department” through his history of declining help from outreach workers, who have documented his mental illness and drug abuse. Law enforcement first encountered Jones in November 2021 after he was reported missing by family in Newark. Jones told outreach workers that he used K2, took psychiatric medication and had been homeless for about four years, according to police.
Jones was charged in December 2022 with resisting arrest for riding between subway cars in Brooklyn, refusing to leave the station and fighting with officers, police said. He has one previous “emotionally disturbed person” interaction with police.
Officials said they believe the woman was going to or from work when she was randomly attacked.
“In the past year, we have made tremendous progress on subway crime,” Janno Lieber, CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said during the briefing. “But that’s no consolation to the family of this young woman.”
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.
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