LOWER MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) --Police are investigating after a pregnant woman was kicked in the stomach during a subway scuffle in Lower Manhattan Thursday morning.
The incident happened just after 8:30 a.m. on a northbound No. 4 train at the Bowling Green station.
Authorities say the 28-year-old victim, who sources say is eight months pregnant, was on the train, holding onto the pole when the suspect got on and bumped into her.
The victim then pushed the suspect, who fell down. Police say he stood back up and kicked the victim twice in the stomach.
"Most of the passengers, 'What's wrong with you? Are you crazy? She's pregnant!'" a witness named Janice said.
Janice said it looked like 40-year-old Michael Lee didn't see the woman at first, so she gently pushed him away, asking for space.
"He pushes her hand away and he ends up hitting her," she said. "He ends up hitting her arm or chest. I think this is where she snapped, she ends up holding on to his collar, his back is still facing her, so once she has her hands on his collar, this is where she turns around and she ends, her hands end up on his head."
Janice said things then spiraled. With Lee now facing the woman, backing up trying to get away from her, she held on to him, causing him to fall. She ended up holding onto him, on top of him.
"So when she's hunched over him, this is when he kicks her," Janice said. "And the kick, since she's over him diagonally, the kick lands on her stomach, right on the bottom of her belly."
Janice says a good Samaritan immediately jumped in, shielding her.
Lee then got up off the floor and told fellow riders he did not know she was pregnant.
"Even though her jacket was zipped up, you can tell she was pregnant," Janice said. "Her belly popped out."
The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was treated and released.
Lee, of Staten Island, is charged with second- and third-degree assault, as well as reckless endangerment.
Suspect accused of kicking a 9 month pregnant woman twice in the stomach on a crowded 4 train this morning in Lower Manhattan. pic.twitter.com/O7a8BIGoJb— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) March 9, 2017
The investigation is ongoing.