NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are investigating another violent crime on the subway.
Two attacks were reported within the last 24 hours at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue station in East Harlem. A 30-year-old man was charged with assault in one incident, but police are searching for the suspect in the other.
“It’s kind of crazy. That’s two different incidents at two separate pretty nuts,” commuter Alonzo Jacobs told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis. “Anything can happen to anybody, and it’s bad.”
Julio Leonardo allegedly punched a conductor on the 4 train platform shortly after midnight. Police said Leonard had been holding the doors of a train. When the conductor asked Leonard to stop, he allegedly punched him, and the conductor punched back.
“Our conductor was just doing his job, helping our customers and helping to keep the train moving when he was senselessly attacked,” Transit Authority President Andy Byford said in a statement. “I am disgusted by this attack on my colleague and we are working closely with police to ensure that the perpetrator is held accountable.”
“Riders don’t fully understand how difficult and dangerous working in the subway can be. This terrible incident is an ugly example,” Transport Workers Union President Tony Utano said in a statement of his own. “This was a disgusting and outrageous attack, and we will do everything we can to see that this criminal gets the punishment he deserves in court.”
A few hours earlier at the same station, another man was slashed in the face.
Police said the suspect and victim were strangers and got into an argument after bumping into each other.
“I just saw the guy, he had a bandage like this and he was walking with the police,” one witness said. “It worried me, because that means at any given time anybody could get hurt. So there needs to be more police presence, or subway stations need to have checkpoints or something.”
Officers could be seen inside and outside the station Friday. Still, commuters were uneasy.
“There’s a lot of violence every day here,” one person said.
“This station is one of the worst,” said another.
“People with mental health, people who clearly need help acting out, yelling, screaming profanity,” a man added.
Earlier this week, the NYPD said overall, crime in the city is down, but in the transit system, it’s up – a 5.6 percent increase this February compared to the same time last year. So far this year, there’s been an average of six crimes a day across the entire transit system.
Just last night, police arrested a man for allegedly following a 13-year-old girl on the subway and groping her on two different occasions.
On Tuesday, a man was arrested after police said he punched an 8-year-old boy with autism in the back of the head while the child was riding the subway into the Fulton Street station with his mom.