Woman who pushed man to death on train track faces murder charge
NEW YORK, Dec 30: A woman who shoved a man off a subway platform into the path of a speeding train said she did so because she hated Hindus and Muslims, officials said on Saturday.
The woman was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, New York City authorities said.
In a statement, NY’s District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified her as Erika Menendez and said the 31-year-old awaited arraignment in Queens Criminal.
“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s nightmare: being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Mr Brown told reporters.
He quoted Ms Menendez as telling the police: “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.”
The victim, Sunando Sen, was born in India and ran a printing shop. He died on Thursday night after being knocked down by the train.
Police released security camera video showing a woman running from the station. They said Ms Menendez was recognised on a Brooklyn street by a passer-by who called 911. Patrol officers found and arrested her.
Mr Brown said Ms Menendez had made incriminating statements before the authorities.
He said: “The victim was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself. Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions can never be tolerated by a civilised society.”
It was the second time this month that someone had been pushed to his death at a NY City subway station. A homeless man was arrested earlier this month and accused of shoving a man in front of a train in Times Square. The accused is awaiting trial and says he acted in self-defence.
It was unclear whether Ms Menendez had any connection to Mr Sen. Witnesses told police the two hadn’t interacted on the platform as they both waited for the train.
Agencies add: If convicted, Ms Menendez could face 25 years to life in prison.
Mr Sen, 46, was from India, but police said it was unclear if he was Muslim, Hindu or of some other faith.
Witnesses said a muttering woman rose from her seat on a platform bench and pushed him on the tracks as a train entered the station and then ran off.
The condition of Mr Sen’s body had made it difficult for the police to identify him and investigators used his phone and a medicine bottle he was carrying for his identification.
Police said his family in India had been informed.
According to Mr Sen’s roommates, he was not married and his parents were dead.