NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police spent Friday searching for a woman suspected of shoving a Manhattan business owner to his death in front of a subway train in Queens.
Overnight, police released surveillance video of the suspect running away from the station. Late Friday afternoon, authorities also released a sketch of the woman they believe is responsible.
Authorities have been circulating posters with the surveillance image of the suspect. A $12,000 reward is being offered for information in the case.
The NYPD sounded confident about the progress it was making in finding the suspect, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“We’re reasonably confident we’ll be able to identify the perpetrator in this case,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
The incident has straphangers wondering who the woman is who shoved the man from behind onto the elevated tracks.
“I think [she] must be very strong,” rider Edilma Serna told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis. “For a woman to do that.”
ROOMMATES REMEMBER ‘NICE PERSON’
The victim has been identified as Sunando Sen, who was originally from India and recently opened a business in Queens, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports
Sen ran a copy shop on Amsterdam Avenue near Columbia University and shared one floor of a house in Queens with two roommates.
“Very sad, very sad — like I said I can’t believe it, can’t believe it, this happened. Oh my God,” roommate A.R. Suman said.
“I’m broken, because this guy was so nice person, so quiet person, so gentle,” M.D. Khan added.
The roommates said Sen worked long hours despite a heart condition that often left him exhausted.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SUSPECT
Police said the woman was seen on the video and raced down two flights of stairs after the attack before disappearing onto crowded Queens Boulevard.
Detectives described the suspect as a heavyset Hispanic woman in her 20s, approximately 5-foot-5, with blonde or brown hair. She was last seen wearing a blue, white and grey ski jacket and grey and red Nike sneakers.
Police said witnesses saw the suspect pacing and mumbling on the platform before taking a seat alone on a wooden bench. Then as the train approached the station, witnesses said she suddenly shot forward, shoving the unsuspecting man onto the tracks and directly into the path of an oncoming “7” train.
Witnesses said it didn’t appear the two had any contact before the incident.
“I’m not certain how much time our witness had spent on the platform. But the witness says there was no contact between the two of them while she observed both of them,” Commissioner Kelly said.
RECENT INCIDENTS LEAVE RIDERS ON ALERT
Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to pray for the victim and noted that such incidents are rare and often unpredictable.
“We do live in a world where our subway platforms are open and that’s not going to change. To say everybody should exercise care… goes without saying,” Bloomberg told reporters in Brooklyn on Friday.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: Bloomberg Urges Prayer For Victim’s Family
The incident marked the second deadly subway push this month. On Dec. 3, police said 58-year-old Ki Suck Han was pushed to his death by 30-year-old Naeem Davis. The two were seen on cell phone video arguing just moments before Han was dumped on the tracks.
Straphangers are now on high alert.
“Growing up in the city you would stand close to the edge and see if the train comes so it makes you rethink the things you do on a regular basis,” Marcelo Tarina said.
“I think it’s scary,” Michael Muchmore added. “I think people stand too close to the edge, too. That yellow line is there for a reason.”
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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