Bronx man charged in death of subway rider he pushed onto tracks in unprovoked attack: police

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Suspect charged with murder in fatal subway attack
Kemberly Richardson has the latest details on Monday's fatal subway attack in East Harlem.

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- A Bronx man was charged in the death of a subway rider he allegedly pushed onto the tracks -- an attack that appeared to be unprovoked.

According to police, it happened just before 7 p.m. Monday at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station in East Harlem.

NYPD says officers arrived to find 53-year-old Jason Volz had been shoved onto the No. 4 train tracks. An oncoming train was not able to stop and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Carlton McPherson, 24, was arrested and charged with murder. Officials say he has multiple prior arrests and has a long and violent past.

On Tuesday morning, the suspect was captured on video sliding down a banister as detectives led him out of an East Harlem precinct.

The NYPD has responded to past incidents where the Bronx resident was acting erratically and authorities say he has a history of mental illness.

He was released without bail after he was arraigned on an October 31 arrest for assault, menacing, harassment and other charges in Brooklyn.

He failed to show up for court twice and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. He was picked up and brought to court on Jan. 11, where bail was set for $2,000 -- which he posted. His next court date was set for July.

"Recidivism is a real issue and the second issue we have in this city is a severe mental health illness problem that was played out at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue at the subway station," Mayor Eric Adams said. "And he was a recidivist, several severe mental health issues, indicators of violence. When you do an analysis and a cross correlation, you will see its the same people, over and over again."

The attack came just hours after the NYPD announced a week-long crackdown on turnstile jumping.

The department is surging 800 officers, including some plainclothes, to random stations looking out for fare evaders and hoping that reduces overall crime.

Officials say many of those who committed crimes underground often didn't pay to enter. McPherson also has a prior arrest for fare evasion.

The NYPD chief of transit says arrests made so far this year in the subway system more than double the number from this time last year. And while crime on the subway is down month to month, NYPD numbers show that the total reports of murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary and grand larceny are up 4.4% compared to this time last year.

Adams says the perception that the city is losing control is inaccurate, but does say the NYPD will need help from Albany and the district attorneys to fix the problem.

"The foundation of the public safety apparatus is dissolving right in front of our eyes," Adams said. "And if we don't get to front of it, we are going to be dealing with a severe public safety crisis that other cities are experiencing. That is the concern."

Volz lived alone in the Bronx. A neighbor said he just spoke to Volz on Monday.

"I just feel so heartbroken, life is so short, when things could happen at any moment it takes my soul away," said neighbor Sammy Sanchez. "He was an honest person, a sincere gentleman, he always respected me, he held the door for me plenty of times when I came upstairs with my wife."

More mental health evaluation was expected to be ordered for McPherson as he appeared in court Tuesday night, but as he faces a murder charge, there is no chance he'll be released anytime soon.

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