Exclusive: Man speaks out after head split open with plank in subway attack

ByAnthony Carlo WABC logo
Sunday, November 5, 2023
Exclusive: Man speaks out after head split open with wooden plank in subway attack
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Anthony Carlo has the exclusive interview with the victim of the attack.

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Joseph Holder is left with bruises and stitches after police say a man split his head wide open with a wooden plank.

"I could barely see, vision was blurry - I was dizzy. I still managed to have some type of consciousness to see around. And he was gone. Disappeared," said Holder.

The 28-year-old is the latest victim of a vicious, random subway assault. He was waiting for the train at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station on Wednesday morning just after 10 - when the wood-wielding attacker took two cheap shots.

"I blacked out and he pushed me immediately - like several milliseconds later, he pushed me. Like it was a two-hit combo," Holder adds.

Down onto the 6 train tracks Holder went, with blood gushing from the gash and only one thing on his barely conscious mind.

"If I don't get up right away, I'm gonna get hit by the train," Holder said, "I was literally dead - I was literally so close to death. So close."

Stunned and dazed, Holder somehow managed to hoist himself back up to the platform without any help before he passed out and was rushed to Bellevue, he told Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview.

"It was just - I don't know if it was my willpower or my soul - you're not going to die right here. Just lifted myself up," Holder adds.

Deming Li, 42, was arrested on Thursday, only a day later. He was charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and resisting arrest. Holder says he was found at the same subway station where he now wants to see more police officers.

"They should have been in the station. They should have been down there. And that's one of those main stations that's dangerous," Holder added.

Holder is warning other riders that anything unexpected can happen, so you have to be on your guard.

Transit crimes are down four percent so far this year, but there are other subway push victims who have not lived to tell their stories.

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