Surprising clue led to an arrest in the Union Square subway shooting

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Suspect in custody after man shot in Union Square subway
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Lucy Yang reports police have a man in custody in connection to a shooting on a subway in Union Square.

UNION SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A suspect is in police custody after a man was shot on a subway in Union Square on Monday.

Police say the gunman shot a man at the subway station Monday because he "did not comply fast enough" to his robbery demands.

Authorities arrested the suspect Tuesday afternoon in Union Square. The man was pictured on a wanted poster and is bald, middle aged and roughly 5'7".

A Chase bank at 305 7th Avenue was held up at around at 2:25 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. The suspect, a man in his 30s, flashed a gun and demanded money.

Eyewitness News is told he tried to escape on the subway. Except some quick-thinking officers at Union Square stopped an incoming train and began searching every car.

Police say it was the suspect's shoes that stood out and gave him away.

"Very foolish. We transmitted pictures of those shoes, readily identifiable. Very easy for our officers to spot," NYPD Transit Chief Kathleen O'Reilly said.

Soon after, the suspect was taken into custody in connection to the subway shooting. Police said he carried three guns in a satchel on a bed of $20 and $100 bills.

The NYPD tells Eyewitness News that the suspect is in federal custody and that this is a joint task force investigation due to the nature of the crimes. He will face federal charges.

Authorities say he is the same man who was wanted for an attempted robbery inside a deli on Lexington Avenue on Sunday. And an armed robbery of a TD Bank on Canal Street on Monday.

The robber approached the teller counter, displayed a firearm and stated to an employee, "I have a gun, give me cash."

The employee handed over approximately $1,100 in cash. The gunman then fled eastbound on Canal Street.

Just minutes later, the shooting of the 42-year-old man was reported just after 5 p.m. on a northbound N train in Union Square.

Authorities said their initial investigation revealed the suspect demanded the victim's phone.

When he did not comply quick enough, he was shot in the left leg.

"The male suspect with the gun fired one time, striking the victim in the left leg," NYPD Transit Assistant Chief Vincent Coogan said.

As the train entered the Union Square station, the suspect fled onto the platform, followed by a man who witnessed the attempted robbery.

Thankfully, officers were at Union Square and applied a tourniquet to the victim's leg to help stop the bleeding.

"Last thing we need is for anyone to die, especially when we're on the scene -- so make sure to get that tourniquet on as fast as possible," said Officer Rajandeep Singh, NYPD.

"I'm just happy that I actually came into work today and actually made a difference," said Officer Elijah Pardiu, NYPD.

The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.

MTA Communications Director Tim Minton released the following statement:

"It's clear putting cameras in every subway station has been paying off. In this case, while investigators determine what charges the alleged perpetrator will face, we know an alert officer recognized the man suspected of preying on subway riders and robbing banks because NYC Transit security got his picture. That and hundreds of additional NYPD officers throughout the system are among reasons why transit crime is at a 25-year low and why new pandemic ridership records are being set every week."

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