It happened shortly after 9:30 a.m. inside the Times Square-42nd Street subway station.
Police say Michelle Alyssa Go, 40, of the Upper West Side was pushed onto the tracks when a southbound R train approached the station.
Go is presumed dead at the scene.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams joined the NYPD at a news conference Saturday afternoon to roll out the new details.
“This incident was unprovoked and the victim did not appear to have any interaction with the subject,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “This is a senseless act of violence, completely mindless.
Officials say the suspect, 61-year-old Simon Martial, fled the scene but eventually turned himself in and is currently in custody.
Martial was arrested and charged with murder. This incident is not considered a hate crime at this time.
Police believe Martial is homeless and authorities say the suspect is known to police and was arrested in 2017 and 1998 for plotting to rob a taxi driver.
“Losing a New Yorker in this fashion will only further increase the fear of people not using our subway system,” Adams said.
MTA Acting President and CEO Janno Lieber also spoke out after the incident.
“One New Yorker was walking about her business right downtown, right in the heart of our subway system in Times Square. And she lost her life,” Lieber said. This is unconscionable. This is unacceptable, it has to stop.”
The subway commuters looked on incredulously.
“People dance when they’re trying to take their own lives, it’s okay, but doing it this way, it’s crazy,” said subway driver Julia Avramenko.
She said she was uncomfortable.
“I was afraid to be around the corner because I know that sometimes some crazy people can knock someone over,” Avramenko said.
The Transport Workers Union is calling on the mayor to do more to protect both passengers and drivers.
The vice president of the union representing New York City train commanders and operators released a partial statement:
“From having the cart caught on fire leaving one of my crew members and the passenger thrown in front of the train to their deaths, something had to be done.”
Last week, Governor of New York Kathy Hochul and Mayor Adams announced a plan to allay New Yorkers’ fears about returning to the subway during the pandemic.
They announced that the police would patrol the subways during their operation, looking to help the homeless.
“We’re going to help them get the support they need, put them in shelters, and eventually housing,” Hochul said.
“You know this happens, but when you hear and see it, it’s terrible for the family, girl. It’s really scary,” metro rider Yolanda Vriones said.
The MTA now has surveillance cameras in every metro station.
Saturday’s incident was likely caught on subway cameras that could help police investigate.
The MTA says southbound N trains are running on the freeway from 57th Street-7th Avenue to 34th Street-Herald Square and southbound R trains are running on F Street from 36th Street to West 4th Street -Washington Square and then across D. to DeKalb Avenue.
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. Copyright Registered.