62-year-old punched, knocked onto subway tracks in unprovoked attack in Bronx

WABC logo
Monday, October 24, 2022
62-year-old punched, knocked onto subway tracks in unprovoked attack
Officials are investigating another act of subway violence in the Bronx as the city desperately tries to get a handle on subway crime. Darla Miles has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Officials are investigating another act of subway violence as the city desperately tries to get a handle on subway crime.

A 62-year-old man was punched in the head and then knocked onto the tracks at a subway station in the Bronx on Sunday night.

The incident happened at the 149th Street-Grand Concourse station around 9:45 p.m.

The victim was standing on the platform when he was suddenly attacked. Officers helped him back up and he survived.

On Monday, police announced the arrest of 21-year-old Deshaun Smith. He is facing charges of reckless endangerment, assault and harassment.

RELATED: Eyewitness News is tracking crime and safety across New York City and in your neighborhood

Surveillance video caught another incident Friday afternoon when 32-year-old David Martin was shoved onto the tracks at the Myrtle-Wycoff L train station in Brooklyn.

The suspect in that attack, 41-year-old Lamale McRae, was arrested on Monday and charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and harassment.

Martin told Eyewitness News he did not know the attacker and says he doesn't know how he'll ever feel safe riding the subway again.

Many subway riders echoed Martin's concerns and said they need more action from lawmakers to help them feel safe. Subway crime is up 40% overall compared to this time last year.

"I used to work in a shelter and mental health is really the issue," said subway rider Najee Smith. "There's a reason why they're doing the things that they're doing. Need to pay more attention to that."

Mayor Eric Adams rode the subway for himself Sunday night and met with other officials during a weekend crime summit at Gracie Mansion.

The acts of violence come as Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul announce a new plan to combat subway crime by adding 1,200 additional cops, more cameras, and increasing access to mental health services.

"We can't pinpoint that somethings going to be done in a month, something's going to be done in a week but one things for sure, I'm confident that something's going to be done," Adams said.

But the Police Benevolent Association blasted the plan and called the additional mandatory overtime unsustainable.

The increased workload is crushing the cops who remain," PBA President Pat Lynch said. " The answer is not to squeeze them for more forced OT. It's not to pass off responsibilities to the better-paid but smaller MTA police department. And it definitely isn't replacing them with unarmed security guards."

The PBA says the NYPD is down about 1,000 cops below budgeted levels with officers fleeing to other departments that pay better.

The MTA held a board meeting Monday to discuss removing people with severe mental illness from the transit system.

The transit authority will split duties with the NYPD and focus on major transit hubs.

There will be 50 new psychiatric beds added by the state that hospitals can refer patients to, with the hope that they can soon be placed in new "step down" transitional housing and kept out of the subway system.

ALSO READ | In their own words: Hochul, Zeldin on the top issues on 'Up Close'

On this episode of "Up Close," Gov. Kathy Hochul and challenger Lee Zeldin make their case for why they should be elected governor of New York.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a News Tip