Man accused of shoving woman’s head against moving subway train

A 39-year-old man was charged Tuesday with pushing a woman’s head against a moving subway train in an apparently random attack at a Manhattan station, seriously injuring the woman, police said.

The man, Kamal Semrade, was arrested late Monday at a homeless shelter near LaGuardia Airport in Queens, police said. He was charged with attempted murder and was arraigned in Manhattan criminal court early Wednesday. Mr Semrade was ordered not to be released on bail.

The shoving incident is the latest disturbing example of the kind of random violent crime that has made some New Yorkers wary of the subways and led officials to flood stations with officers to reassure riders that the public transit system is safe .

Prosecutor Carolyn McGuigan told the court Mr Semrad’s alleged assault was “completely unprovoked”.

Authorities have not released the victim’s name, but an online fundraiser set up to help pay for her medical bills identified her as Emine Yilmaz Ozsoy, an illustrator and designer who immigrated to New York from Turkey.

In a statement posted on the fundraising page, Ms Ozsoy’s husband, Ferdi Ozsoy, described the attack on his wife as a “tragic event” that “should not happen in any on people”. He said her injuries could affect her mobility and be “severely limiting”.

Still, he sounded optimistic: “Faith and hope never end,” he said, describing Ms Ozsoy as creative, empathetic and a “warrior”.

Mr. Semrade and Ms. Ozsoy, 35, boarded the same train early Sunday near their home in Jackson Heights, Queens, with Mr. Semrade jumping through the turnstiles first to enter the station, police said. Ms McGuigan said Ms Ozsoy was on her way to work. Both alighted at the Lexington Avenue/63rd Street station around 6 a.m., authorities said.

As the train pulled away, Mr Semrad approached Ms Ozsoy from behind, grabbed her head with both hands and pushed her into the train with all his strength, authorities said.

“She hit the train with her face and head, rolled along the train and then crashed back onto the platform and she was immediately paralyzed,” Ms McGuigan told the court.

Ms. Ozsoy was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in a critical condition, with Ms. McGuigan said injuries included a “broken cervical spine, broken fingers, lacerated scalp and damage to four major blood vessels.”

Ms Ozzoy is “currently paralyzed from the neck down” and “remains at risk of stroke or death,” Ms McGuigan added.

An image provided by the NYPD shows a man allegedly pushing a woman onto a moving subway in Manhattan on Sunday.Credit…new york police department

Photos of the attack on Ms. Ozsoy, captured on police station cameras and distributed by police, helped lead to Mr. Semrade’s arrest, officials said. The photo shows him wearing a dark shirt, dark pants and white shoes, with a coffee mug in his hand.

New York City Transit Commissioner Richard Davey, the Metropolitan Transit Authority arm that runs the subway, praised the police department for its swift arrests.

“It is now up to prosecutors to pursue the maximum consequences under the law,” Mr David said in a statement.

Investigators believe Mr. Semrad has been living in a Queens shelter for two years, police said. But city social services records show he has been assigned to a Bronx shelter since April 2021, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly about the records. The reason for the apparent difference is unclear.

Mr. Ozsoy, who was born and raised in New York and moved to Turkey in 2009, said in a statement that he and Ms. Ozsoy married in 2014 and moved to the city three years later.

“We took our chances,” he said. “We want to start a new life in America”

In Turkey, Ms. Ozsoy was a page designer for the Hurriyet Daily News in Istanbul, he said. Since moving to New York, Ozzoy said her clients have included Chicago Magazine, Airbnb and Puma. She also works in a coffee shop.

“The first time we walked in Manhattan since we got here, we were walking on the sidewalk and I asked her what she thought,” Mr. Ozsoy said. “She said, ‘I can think for myself. The sidewalk is big and I don’t have to worry about anything that’s going to happen to me.'”

Maria Kramer, Andy Newman and Hurubimeco Contribution report. Kirsten Noyce contributed research.

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