This as police continue their search for the suspect.READ MORE: Police Searching For Suspect In Fatal Stabbing Outside Penn Station
Victim Akeem Loney was well known in the soccer community. He volunteered his time with kids, and was always in high spirits.
“He loved to play soccer, and he loved to have a good time and joke around. He was super reliable and I considered him a good friend,” coach Reed Fox told CBS2’s Kevin Rincon on Monday.
Fox was Loney’s coach at Street Soccer USA. He called him one of the best players he has ever coached.
Fox said he last saw the 32-year-old dropping off soccer equipment at his apartment in the Bronx.
“Just happy to see us, so thankful to have the gear. Just a pretty typical interaction with Lon,” Fox said of their interaction.
But Loney became homeless during the pandemic. He was inside a northbound 2 train on Sunday morning asleep when police say he was fatally stabbed in the neck.
“These are people and they’re not different from any of us, and you know a lot of us have a safety net that would prevent that from happening” Fox said of the homeless.
As friends mourn his loss, police continue their search for the suspect.Subway Rider Stabbed To Death While Sleeping On Train Near Penn Station, Sources Say
For now, police believe the act was unprovoked.
Meanwhile at Penn Station, and stations throughout the city, safety has been a concern for riders.
“People act nuts. I think the pandemic make people go more crazy,” a rider from Manhattan said.
“I asked a guy one time, had a smile, and said, ‘How you doing?’ to him. He said how funny it is with a piece of metal sticking out of your chest. Although I was cheerful and in a good mood, it doesn’t mean he was,” a rider from the Bronx added.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the stabbing a horrible incident, adding perception and reality matter.
“As the society normalizes, as people come more and more back to the offices, as the international tourists come back, as more and more law-abiding people are around on the streets in the subways, that also creates a safer condition, gets us back to where we were pre-pandemic, where literally there was 1 crime per 1 million riders,” de Blasio said.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams said it’s the perception that’ll prevent people from getting back to mass transit.
“What happened on a subway station where a gentleman was stabbed and killed, it’s going to impact those who are open to take the transportation system,” Adams said.
Police are asking for the public’s help locating the suspect. They released a surveillance photo on Sunday.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.MORE NEWS: New York Landmarks Lit In Pink, White & Blue To Honor Transgender Day Of Remembrance
CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.