A homeless man in New York has been charged with murdering a woman he allegedly pushed in front of an oncoming subway train.
Simon Martial, 61, was arrested Saturday after the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, 40.
Shortly after 9:30 a.m. that day, as Go was standing on the train platform, Martial allegedly pushed Go on to the tracks as a Q train approached.
Police say Go was pronounced dead at the scene.
“This was a senseless, absolutely senseless act of violence,” NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference following the incident.
Sewell said that the incident appeared to be unprovoked.
But police say that moments before pushing Go on to the tracks, Martial had approached another woman on the same train platform.
“He gets in her space, she gets very alarmed, she moves away from him,” assistant police chief Jason Wilcox said at Saturday’s press conference. “She feels like he was about to physically push her on the train. As she was walking away, she witnessed the crime where he pushes [Go] in front of the train.”
Police say that Martial fled the scene, but turned himself into a transit officer shortly afterwards.
Police said that it is unclear whether Go, who is of Asian descent, was targeted because of her race. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, crimes against people of Asian descent in New York and elsewhere have soared.
The other woman who Martial allegedly approached was not Asian, police said Saturday.
Mayor Eric Adams said at the press conference that a key part of making the city’s subway system safe is to focus on getting mental health treatment to at-risk people.
“We want to continue to highlight that, how imperative it is that people receive the right mental health services, particularly on our subway system,” Adams said. “Our recovery is dependent on the public safety in this city and in the subway system. We can do that with the right balance, a balance of safety and a balance of proactively giving people the assistance they need when they are in [a] mental health crisis.”
Video from local CBS affiliate WCBS appears to show Martial saying “Yes I did” as he was being escorted out of the Midtown South precinct on Saturday.
According to a New York Times report, Martial had a history of mental health issues along with a handful of criminal charges and convictions.
He was previously charged with drug possession near Washington Square Park, but was found unfit to stand trial following a psychiatric evaluation in 2019, the Times reported. That case was dismissed because of Martial’s mental state, according to the Times story.
New York corrections department records show that he was convicted of attempted robbery in 1999.
Go lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, about a block from Central Park, according to the Times. She was a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting, according to her LinkedIn page.
The NYPD told Law&Crime that the investigation is ongoing.
[Image via YouTube screengrab/WCBS/WLNY]
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