A deranged homeless man allegedly shoved an Asian woman to her death in front of an oncoming subway train Saturday morning in Times Square, police said.
The horrifying episode unfolded at 9:40 a.m. just nine minutes after the man was caught on video on the platform at the Times Square station at West 42nd Street and Broadway, police said.
Michelle Alyssa Go, 40, was waiting on the southbound platform when she was shoved onto the train tracks and struck by an R train, police said.
“This incident was unprovoked and the victim does not appear to have any interaction with the subject,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a late afternoon press briefing in the station.
The suspect had first approached another woman, who was not Asian, who became alarmed and moved away, said Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox of the NYPD Detective Bureau.
“She feels that he was about to physically push her onto the train,” he said. “As she’s walking away, she witnesses the crime where he pushes our other victim in front of the train.”
At 9:53 a.m., a man walked into a transit precinct on Canal Street and declared that he “pushed a woman in front of a train,” Wilcox said.
The suspect, identified by police as Simon Martial, 61, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, police said.
Martial has no known address, according to law enforcement sources.
Martial, who has a gray beard and was wearing a black hooded jacket, stuck his tongue out at photographers as he was being led into the Midtown South precinct on West 35th Street.
“He is crazy, talking gibberish,” said a law enforcement source.
Later, Martial yelled “Go f—k yourself” at reporters as police escorted him out of the precinct.
Martial copped to the attack when asked if he had killed Go, and claimed he was “God.”
“Yeah because I’m God. Yes I did. I’m God, I can do it,” Martial shouted, adding “she stole my f—ing jacket, that’s why,” when asked about his motive.
Embattled Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has taken heat for being too soft on crime, would not comment on potential charges at the press briefing.
When asked if New Yorkers had to be worried about the suspect being released immediately from jail, he said no.
The NYPD said its hate crimes task force was reviewing the incident but it wasn’t being officially investigated as a hate crime.
Martial has a criminal record with at least three arrests going back to 1998, when he was busted for robbery, with the latest coming in October 2019 for criminal possession of a controlled substance. He served two years in state prison for attempted robbery and was released in August 2021, state records show.
He was accused of entering a man’s car at Sixth Avenue and Waverly Place on Aug. 9, 2017, simulating a weapon and saying, “I have a gun. Give me your cash!,” according to sources.
The terrified driver fled.
Martial also had three run-ins with police as an emotionally disturbed person, sources said.
A woman who identified herself as Martial’s sister, Josette, said he has a history of mental illness.
“He’s been on medication for over 20 years and in and out of mental hospitals in New York,” the woman said.
She said her brother, who is originally from Haiti, once managed a parking lot in the Big Apple “making good money.”
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said he’s seen the suspect “many times” ranting in the subway.
“He will have a conversation and then all of a sudden he will have a psychotic disorder,” Sliwa said. “Again, an Asian gets pushed in front of a train. How many times does this have to happen? Asians are being attacked every which way.”
Wai Wah Chin, charter president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, called the incident “horrifying.”
“It’s a horrible attack on yet another one of our citizens. This has to stop,” she said. “We have to make the streets and subways safe for all of our citizens, especially our Asian women.”
Michael Alcazar, a retired NYPD detective, called the homeless and emotionally disturbed population in the subway system former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “gift” to his successor — who has pledged to clean up the subways.
“Why do taxpayers and law-abiding citizens have to put up with the crime and homeless people who dwell in the subway cars?’ said Alcazar, a professor at John Jay College.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen transit look in decades.”
Mayor Eric Adams, a former transit cop, visited the Times Square station around noon but did not speak to the press.
Adams — who has vowed to make the troubled system safer — said at the press briefing that “we are not going to lose focus on safety in the subway system” and that he had rolled out his plan to do so.
One thousand additional officers were working in transit and some had been assigned to the Times Square station, according to Assistant NYPD Chief Kathleen O’Reilly.
“We had a robust plan for this station today. We had six officers assigned to it. There were two officers on the southbound platform to the southern end when this incident occurred,” O’Reilly said.
“Unfortunately these incidents do occur. They’re rare but this one is very harrowing and disturbing,” she said.
But terrified straphangers said the mayor has “a lot of work to do” to make the Big Apple safe again.
“It could have been me, it’s scary,” said Roxana Jones, 44, a home aide who lives in Brooklyn and was at the station Saturday afternoon.
Ariana Shaghaghi, 24, who works in fashion and lives in Manhattan, said she tries to be extra cautious on subway platforms and stand away from the tracks.
“I just think something needs to change because it’s getting worse,” Shaghaghi said.
“They tried with the COVID to clean the subways, but I feel that with the homelessness it’s gotten worse. We need to do something about it soon, it’s just terrible.”
The shoving was the second one on the same Times Square platform in a little more than two months.
On Nov. 12, a mugger pushed a woman — who is also Asian — onto the tracks. She was rescued by good Samaritans before a train came.
Through Dec. 12, 2021, straphangers had been pushed onto the tracks 27 times, up from 25 during the same period in 2020, according to the NYPD.
PBA president Patrick Lynch said the latest incident “underscores our current crisis.”
“The city should absolutely provide help and services — real services — for those who need it. But those who are a danger to themselves and others cannot be allowed to remain in the subways and on the streets. We know there are common-sense solutions on the table — we need to get them up and running ASAP,” Lynch said.
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