New York, Nov 22 (PTI) A 24-year-old Indian-origin homeless man has been arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder after he pushed a woman onto subway tracks just as a train was entering the station.
Aditya Vemulapati was arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder, reckless endangerment, attempted assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree, according to a criminal complaint filed by Manhattan prosecutors.
A report in NBC News said a judge ordered Vemulapati held until his December 4 court date.
Video footage from the station showed Vemulapati at a subway station in Union Square here pushing Liliana Llanos just as the incoming train pulled into the station. Llanos miraculously escaped and sustained only minor injuries. She fell in between two train tracks and narrowly missed the train's impact as it passed over early morning Thursday.
Vemulapati was taken into custody at the scene, police said.
The report said Llanos had headphones on and was listening to Bible passages. Witnesses say she was waiting for the train when Vemulapati approached her, appearing to talk to himself. From the footage it appeared that he had timed the shove just as an incoming train was approaching the station and pushed her without saying a word, the report added.
'It's very disturbing. We see him waiting, calculating for the train to approach the station and at the opportune moment he pushed the victim onto the tracks,' Kathleen O'Reilly, NYPD Chief of Transit Capt., said.
'She fell fortunately for her between the roll bed and rails, and by the grace of God sustained only minor injuries,' O'Reilly said.
After shoving the woman, Vemulapati saw the police approaching and laid down on the platform. Police are saying Vemulapati is emotionally disturbed.
Llanos, who was taken to a hospital, sustained minor cuts to her head and body. Her husband was grateful she was able to return to their Sunset Park apartment, saying she 'got a new life today.' The NBC report added that the incident marked the second subway push arrest made on Thursday. Another man was taken into custody after police said he pushed a UPS worker onto the tracks at the 42nd Street-Bryant Park Station on Wednesday night. Police said Justin Pena attacked the victim after the man refused to give him money.
The incident led the president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to draw attention to the mental health problems in the city that carry over to subway platforms.
'It's gotta be addressed, and I'm desperate for this mayor or the next to take it on,' MTA President Sarah Feinberg said.
'This city has a mental health crisis, we have got folks in this city who desperately need mental health care,' Feinberg said. PTI YAS RS RS