NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police had a woman in custody Saturday in the death of a business owner who was shoved in front of a subway train in Queens.
Erica Menendez, was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, the Queens District Attorney announced on Saturday. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the suspect was 31 years old.
Following her arrest Menendez gave investigators two addresses, one in the Bronx; the other in the Forest Hills section of Queens, the apparent home of her mother.
Menendez was arraigned late Saturday night and will be held without bail until her next court date in two weeks.
1010 WINS Reporter Gary Baumgarten has more…
Menendez reportedly told authorities, “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims. Ever since 2001 when they put down the Twin Towers I’ve been beating them up,” according to the criminal complaint.
She was arrested at Empire Boulevard and Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and most people who spoke to 1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels were surprised she was picked up there.
But Michael did not.
1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels Reports
“There’s a lot of crazy people out here. They’re not supposed to be in the streets. They’re supposed to be where they’re supposed to be; where they belong – in a hospital, a mental institution, you know? I see a lot of crazy people in the train station,” he said. “I see a lot of cops out here; they don’t really pay them no mind. You would think the cops’ jobs would like, take those people somewhere where they need help.”
Michael said police need to pay less attention to those who jump turnstiles and more attention to those who may be dangerous.
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 at the 40th-Lowery Street elevated station.
Witnesses said it did not 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,” police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Sen, a native of Bangladesh, recently opened a business in Queens, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
Sen ran a copy shop on Amsterdam Avenue near Columbia University and shared one floor of a house in Queens with two roommates.
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 Friday.
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