Homeless man who pushed woman onto oncoming subway arrested; victim miraculously survives

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MANHATTAN, NY — A woman survived a horrifying push onto an oncoming subway at the Union Square station in Manhattan Thursday morning, and the horrifying crime was caught on surveillance video.

At 8:30 a.m. on November 19th, the 24-year-old suspect, who is said to be emotionally disturbed, can be seen watching and waiting for the train to arrive before he pushes the innocent victim onto the tracks in an unprovoked attack, ABC 7 reported.

A bystander is seen covering his ears and cowering in reaction to the sickening incident.

NYPD Transit Chief Kathleen O’Reilly said:

“The whole incident is captured on surveillance video. It’s very disturbing. We see him waiting, calculating for the train to approach the station, and at the opportune moment, he pushed the victim to the tracks.”

The woman, 40, managed to roll over, and the train made minimal contact with her. Officials say no words were exchanged between the two.

O’Reilly said:

“She fell, fortunately for her, between the roll bed and the rails. Through the grace of God, sustained minor injuries.”

Witnessing the incident from inside the train was Andre Gunter, who said:

“I was in front, and then the next thing you kind of see somebody like falling on the track.

“Then in a couple of seconds, the conductor stopped the train. This was before we even pulled up 100 percent. Then he came out, like traumatized, he was like: ‘That was a person.’”

 

A transit worker saw the incident and immediately jumped into action, holding the suspect, who was identified as Aditya Vemulapati, until police arrived.

Vemulapati was taken to a hospital for evaluation and is charged with attempted murder, felony assault and reckless endangerment, according to ABC 7.

Vemulapati’s previous address was in Westland, Michigan, but he is said to be currently homeless.

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NYPD Transit Captain Anthony Guadagno said:

“As soon as the incident happened, the subject saw an MTA worker and put himself on the ground. Immediately thereafter, an officer assigned to Transit District 4 made the apprehension.”

The victim was conscious and alert, and she was taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries.

Late Thursday, the victim returned to her Brooklyn home with cuts on her head. Family members said physically she’ll be fine, but that she is distraught mentally, and did not want to talk about the attack.

O’Reilly noted:

“The system is open, we have a lot of people coming through and that’s why we had a huge uniform component assigned to this station. The system is open for anybody, including the homeless.”

Only one day before, a man beat and shoved a 36-year-old off-duty UPS worker onto subway tracks on the southbound D line at the Bryant Park Station just after 7 p.m., ABC 7 reported.

Authorities say the suspect, Jason Pena, 23, asked the victim for money before pushing him onto the tracks. Pena was charged with attempted murder and reckless endangerment.

On January 16th, Pena was also arrested for allegedly punching a 62-year-old man riding on a southbound F train in the vicinity of the 23rd Street station in Chelsea. That victim sustained lacerations.

NYC Transit interim President Sarah Feinberg said this is a small part of a much bigger problem, and criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying riders need to feel safe, and pandemic or not, this cannot continue.

Feinberg said:

“We cannot be a collection or a location where we just gather folks who are experiencing a mental health crisis.”

Feinberg went on to say:

“It’s not fair to the people who are using the system. It’s not fair to the woman who experienced this today. We have a crisis in this city and it absolutely has to be addressed.

“I’m desperate for this mayor or the next mayor to take it on because we have a long way to go.”

Feinberg praised the officers who were in the right place at the right time to make a quick arrest in the incident on Thursday.

According to the NYPD, there were 16 subway pushing incidents in all of 2019. This year so far, there have already been 16 incidents.

A spokesperson for the NYPD said that the two incidents were not believed to be related, according to Gothamist.

In 2019, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reported 195 collisions between trains and people — the highest number in at least a decade, according to the New Yorker. Seventy people were struck between March and late August of this year, only 15 fewer than the previous year, despite plummeting ridership due to the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the MTA did not say whether they specifically track incidents of people being pushed onto the subway tracks.

On November 20th, we reported on the unprovoked mob beating of a victim who lost his eye in New York City. Here is that report.

The NYPD recently released surveillance footage that captured a reportedly unprovoked mob beating of a 38-year-old on October 31st in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Sources say that the injuries sustained on the man’s left eye were so severe that doctors were forced to remove his eye

The attack was said to have occurred around 9:30 p.m. on Halloween, where video shows the victim being chased numerous attackers on Mother Gaston Blvd. 

During the foot-chase, the victim loses his balance and tumbles to the ground – which leads to a flurry of stomps, punches and kicks by the attackers while he is on the ground.

According to police, the victim has no idea who his attackers were nor what provoked the brutal beating. 

From what the video shows of the incident, the attackers relentlessly pummeled the victim and seemed to, then, nonchalantly walk away from the scene.

What’s perhaps all the more sad, is that there were cars driving past the victim as he was being brutalized in the middle of the crosswalk and no one stopped to help. 

After the attack, the victim was reportedly transported to the Brookdale University Hospital in stable condition, with medical professionals noting that he suffered lacerations to the face and extensive damage to his left eye which resulted in the need for its removal. 

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in helping identify the attackers behind this beating. Anyone with knowledge of the incident or those behind the crime are asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

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