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NYC subway rider is pushed onto tracks and killed, latest in a series of attacks underground

Monday’s fatal push happened on the same day that New York City officials announced a plan to send 800 more police officers into the subway system to crack down on fare evasion

Metro Nueva York
New York State Police officer and members of the New York State National Guard stand guard inside the entrance of subway station in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2024.Eduardo Munoz (REUTERS)

A subway rider was pushed onto the tracks and killed by a train, the latest in a string of violent episodes in New York City’s transit system that have prompted officials to beef up policing in the subway system. The shoving victim, who has not been identified, was pushed onto the tracks inside an East Harlem subway station shortly before 7 p.m. Monday, police said. The operator of an oncoming train was unable to stop and the person was killed, police said.

The suspected shover, Carlton McPherson, 24, was arrested on a murder charge, a police spokesperson said. McPherson was awaiting arraignment in Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday and no information about a defense attorney was available. A call to a Legal Aid attorney who has represented McPherson in a pending assault case in Brooklyn was not returned.

Monday’s fatal push happened on the same day that New York City officials announced a plan to send 800 more police officers into the subway system to crack down on fare evasion and an hour after a city police officer was fatally shot during a traffic stop, the first member of the department to be killed in the line of duty in two years.

Also on Monday, a man was stabbed multiple times on a subway train in a dispute over smoking, police said. A suspect was arrested.

Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday said that although acts of violence like the fatal shove fuel the perception of lawlessness, subway crime is down nearly 6% since he took office in 2022. “We hear this over and over again: The city’s out of control. It’s just not true,” Adams, a former transit police officer, said at a City Hall news conference.

Adams linked the subway shover’s actions to “severe mental health illness” and said city officials are working to remove people with mental health issues, many of whom are homeless, from the subway system.

The mayor said that since the city launched an effort to tackle crime and homelessness on the subways in February 2022, some 7,000 people in the subways have checked into shelters.

Anne Williams-Isom, Adams’ deputy mayor for health and human services, said, “We’re there. Engaging people. Getting people connected to shelter. It’s this concept of keeping them in shelter and getting them the support that they need so they’re not spiraling in and out of the system.”

Some subway riders say just the presence of police officers in the system makes a difference. When a woman started yelling at Shanita Jones on her daily commute, an officer happened to be on the train.

“She was upset with me because I sat right next to her,” said Jones, who rides the subways seven days a week for her two jobs as a spa attendant and a home healthcare aide. “I told the officer, ‘I think she had a bad day.’”

When a police officer isn’t around and someone is acting erratic, her strategy is to move to another car.

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