A maniac who allegedly pushed a 30-year-old woman into a moving New York subway was arrested Thursday. Police said he may have gotten stuck a few minutes earlier.
Sabir Jones, 39, was arrested near the train stop at Newark Penn Station after a passenger recognized him after police launched a manhunt following an incident on Wednesday. He was then sent to a hospital.
Jones is accused of pushing the woman into a moving subway train at the 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue subway station in Manhattan and then fleeing the scene.
Jones was homeless and struggling with psychosis in New Jersey two years ago — and police said Wednesday he is known to the department.
The victim suffered serious head injuries and was sent to New York Presbyterian Hospital for treatment. She is currently out of surgery and has not yet been identified.
A 26-year-old man claims he saw the suspect punch him minutes before he allegedly pushed the woman onto the subway tracks. He said Jones shouted obscenities and punched him in the face the New York Times.
Apparently without provocation, it happened on the platform of the southbound E/F train, and the male suspect – 6-foot-2 Sabir Jones, who was seen fleeing the scene in the surveillance video – is now wanted.
Police have not yet released the name of the 30-year-old victim, who was driven from the 53rd Street and 5th Avenue subway station in Manhattan after Wednesday’s attack.
He says he heard Jones scream and quickly walked away, but the suspect came from behind and punched him in the left side of his face.
The alleged unprovoked attack left the Queens student with a broken jaw. He asked to remain anonymous as the alleged attacker was still at large when he spoke about the attack on Thursday.
The 26-year-old stated that he did not witness Jones push the woman into the oncoming subway train.
He reported the incident to police after learning what happened to the woman while he was at the hospital preparing for an upcoming operation.
Jones is considered an “emotionally disturbed homeless man” with a criminal history and known to police because of his constant presence in subway stations and a charge of resisting arrest in Brooklyn in December, said Michael Kemper, the police chief.
Authorities cited his priors as criminal sexual contact and assaulting a police officer, among other charges
Jones’ social services records show he has a history of homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse, the New York Times reported.
He used the synthetic marijuana K2, took psychiatric medications and had been homeless for four years, he told an employee of an organization that provides homeless assistance in the metro in November 2021.
Police said Wednesday that Jones is a close acquaintance of the department, including criminal sexual contact and assaulting a police officer
The woman suffered an unspecified head injury after being pushed by Jones as a train left the platform before falling onto the tracks. She was rescued by several good Samaritans, officers said at a news conference at the station later that afternoon
Authorities revealed that Jones was already “known” to the department
An employee of the organization wrote that he was “able to demonstrate non-threatening behavior” and “communicated effectively with a friendly demeanor,” concluding that he could be a good candidate for a less restrictive homeless shelter.
But Jones did not appear to be going to the shelter dubbed “safe heaven,” a counselor told the Times.
Court records show a litany of other crimes in Newark, where in March 2021 a then-homeless Jones was reported missing, reportedly suffering from both psychosis and depression.
He was known to sleep at Newark Penn Station and drive on a nearby highway, and to have a previous address in Maryland.
As for the Brooklyn incident, Kemper said Jones was asked to leave a subway station after police saw him driving between cars, but refused and fought with police.
Standing in front of a cordoned off turnstile on Wednesday afternoon, Kemper said: “As the train left the station, she was pushed, causing her head to hit the moving train.
‘The train left the station and then fell onto the trackbed.
“Luckily there are eyewitnesses and good Samaritans on that platform who helped her get off the roadbed (and) onto the platform,” Kemper further revealed.
‘911 was called immediately, ambulance responded and they took her to (Weill) Cornell Hospital due to head trauma.
“We developed a person of interest almost immediately based on video surveillance, and that person of interest likely became the cause where he was wanted,” he added.
The attack disrupted train service at the tube station throughout the evening, with police remaining on the scene long after the woman was taken off the tracks and admitted to hospital.
Jones is wanted for resisting arrest in Brooklyn in December. Court records show a litany of other crimes in Newark, where in March 2021 a then-homeless Jones was reported missing, reportedly suffering from both psychosis and depression.
The incident is the latest black mark for the city’s embattled subway system, which has been notoriously marred by violence in the years since the pandemic struck.
Authorities say crime on the New York City subway has declined overall, but it’s no comfort to a New Yorker “just trying to live her life.”
“Over the past year we have made tremendous progress on subway crime, with crime down 9% compared to the past year before COVID,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber.
“But that is no comfort to the family of this young woman who is fighting for her life at Cornell Hospital.”
“New Yorkers put up with a lot, but what they can’t put up with is people randomly coming up to them, which seems to be the case here, and attacking them.”
“I’m not a mental health professional, but I’m sure the people who are need to figure out how to get these people out of the public space and into treatment,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber.
“When ambitious young people who are just trying to live their lives become victims of random attacks, we cannot tolerate that,” Lieber added.