Attacker Allegedly Goes After Conductor With Screwdriver Before Riders Step In

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was pure chaos on the subway. A man tried to hijack a No. 5 subway train by overpowering the motorman.

But he didn’t get far, as passengers jumped into action — and it was all caught on tape, reports CBS 2’s Mark Morgan.

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The harrowing amateur video shows the chaos aboard the Bronx-bound train on Friday. Richard Arrocho is accused of climbing into the train cab, and attacking operator Darryl George with a screwdriver.

George said Arrocho was on the track roadbed, by the wall and that Arrocho told him someone was trying to shoot him. When he turned away to radio for help, that’s when Arrocho apparently climbed into the cab.

“I tried to get him out of the cab. I tried to show him that everything would be okay, that police were on the way. At that time he says he’s not getting out of the cab. I tried to open the door for him to get out. He hit my hand away and told me to move the train or he’s going to kill me,” George said.

In a matter of seconds, George went from being concerned about his passenger’s safety, to fighting for his own life.

“[I was] terrified because I actually thought I was going to lose my life,” George said.

“At that time I began complying with his orders and I started moving the train slowly,” George told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey. “I wasn’t moving the train fast enough for him, so he grabbed my hand and he pushed the controller forward to make the train go faster.”

As the train approached the next stop, the 16-year veteran distracted his attacker.

“I placed the train in emergency and grabbed his hand with the screwdriver and at that time we started wrestling for control of the screwdriver,” George said.

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Several passengers tried to open the operator’s door to help George. He was able to open the cab door by pushing with his back and escape unscathed.

Arrocho eventually calmed down and surrendered to police at the Jackson Avenue station.

Several Bronx residents were stunned when Morgan showed them the shocking video.

“The conductors have our lives in their hands, so they should have more protection around them, so they can keep our livelihood secure,” said Lisa Holloway of the Bronx.

“Obviously, that’s very animalistic. I don’t know why he’s even doing that. I’m hoping that other people are helping the conductor and it seems like they are,” added Paul Maldonado of Brooklyn.

George said his faith in mankind is renewed.

“I’m really grateful for those passengers. They really stood up, and they made the situation a better situation by coming to help me,” George said.

“There are still good people willing to help you in New York City, definitely. They are willing to go out of their way and help you.”

Arrocho has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and assault. Amazingly, George was not hurt in the attack. He said he plans to return to work this week.

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