NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Straphangers across New York were on edge Monday after a recent string of unprovoked attacks in the city’s subway system.

In the most recent case, sources tell CBS2 the alleged assailant now behind bars has been arrested 64 times. He was taken to NYC Health+Hospitals/Bellevue for a mental health evaluation while one of his victims hopes the city does more to stop a similar attack from happening again.

Pictures from the scene at Columbus Circle appearing to show an agitated homeless man being restrained by several passersby shortly after the Monday morning attack are just the latest example of underground unrest in the Big Apple.

“I was in shock,” one of the victims told CBS2. “I jumped back off the train immediately to try to snap a picture and call 911.”

The woman, who doesn’t wish to be identified, says she took the pictures of the man after he allegedly punched her and two other women on the B train around 10 a.m. as it approached the Midtown station.

“As soon as he came in he punched the first woman and tried to hurry and get out of his way, he went by me slightly and turned around and punched me in the head and then he ran,” the woman said. “As he was running out the door he went and punched this Asian woman in her face.”

The victim says the attack left the last woman with a swollen and bloodied face. The seemingly random crime follows video the NYPD released this weekend of a man waving a knife at a rider aboard the E train at West 4th Street. Just over a week ago, police say a panhandler fractured a commuter’s skull after beating him with a metal object.

In Monday’s melee, the victim says bystanders acted quickly to hold her alleged attacker until police arrived. Despite the string of incidents, the NYPD says subway violence is down roughly five percent compared to last year. Transit Chief Edward Delatorre says more uniformed and plainclothes officers are making a dent along with proactive riders.

“People aren’t getting away with crimes in the subway system like they did decades ago,” Delatorre told CBS2’s Valerie Castro. “Just about every commuter is armed with a cell phone, taking pictures of people who do commit these crimes.”

Some say it’s not enough, and argue the city needs to do more to help people with mental illness. The victim in Monday’s attack says it’s “running rampant.”

“We’re doing what we can to connect them to the services they need,” Delatorre said.

The man arrested Monday was last arrested two years ago for public urination at a subway station in Brooklyn, according to police.

Comments (15)
  1. A liberal city in action. What a disgusting place – like Chicago.

  2. George Lortz says:

    Couple of two word solutions–Bernie Goetz; concealed carry.

  3. Warrior of GOD says:

    This guy is an animal……..A rap sheet as long as my leg…..He doesn’t want to be a civilized human being, so he should be executed…..If NY allowed her citizens to bear arms, these crimes would go away quickly!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. It’s’ going to come down to vigilante action. Why should people have to fear to ride public transit? In a civilized country, the population will kill off or lock up those who are ruining their world. Are you living in a civilized country?

  5. Democrats are dangerous anti-White racists.

  6. How soon until DiBlasio labels the police racist for arresting protected felons?

  7. Surprised they actually showed some pictures. Not surprised.

  8. jay10940 says:

    And he is out AGAIN. Just saw him on the E train on my way home this morning.

  9. Buy a gun,. Get training. Carry everywhere.

  10. Surprise! it’s the usual feral set.

  11. Looks like deranged people doing this, and they usually just hate everyone.

  12. Anyone stupid enough to choose to live in NYC gets what they deserve. No sympathy here.

  13. Are these crimes between different races, i.e., “hate” crimes, or are we not allowed to ask that?

  14. ebrandwein says:

    64 arrests and he was still free to hurt people.

    1. I guess there’s no 63 strikes law in the Sanctuary Apple.

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