MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 43-year-old man has been charged after he allegedly opened fire when a homeless panhandler threatened to mug a woman at a Midtown subway station on Tuesday night.
The incident was reported at the 49th Street subway station, on Seventh Avenue, just after 9 p.m.
The panhandler was holding open an emergency gate when he told the 40-year-old woman he would steal her purse if she didn't hand over her money.
The gunman ordered the would be mugger to "leave her alone" and then fired a couple warning shots, thwarting the robbery attempt.
No injuries were reported. The man with the gun fled.
The suspect, 43-year-old John Rote, was taken into police custody on Wednesday and has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a firearm and menacing.
"I want to be clear: we don't tolerate this kind of conduct in NYC Transit, period," NYC Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement. "Once again, cameras recorded a perpetrator, and we are grateful the NYPD made an arrest within hours. Thank goodness nobody was hurt here, but what occurred was outrageous, reckless, and unacceptable."
Officers responded and took the panhandler into custody. Matthew Roesch, 40, was charged with attempted robbery. His one prior arrest is for theft of service at the Times Square-W. 42nd St. subway station Sept. 18.
"We're here to tell New Yorkers that this kind of misbehavior will not be tolerated, we're going to work with the NYPD to bring these two perpetrators to justice," said NYC Transit President Richard Davey.
The crime is raising awareness about two issues that the MTA is working hard to address: guns in the subway system and fare evasion.
Data from the NYPD shows that gun arrests are up 39.3% from this time last year and fare evasion arrests are up 144.5%.
"Weapons shouldn't be on the streets of New York, they are, and if that occurs, what happens on the streets has come down to our subways," Davey said. "We need to get a handle on the gun issue certainly in the city."
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).