Michelle Go Shoved To Her Death In Front Of Subway Train In Unprovoked Attack By Homeless Man
A woman was pushed to hear death in front of a subway train on Saturday at the Times Square station. The victim, identified as 40-year-old New Yorker Michelle Alyssa Go, was reportedly waiting for a southbound R train at approximately 9:40 a.m. when she was pushed and killed. The alleged attacker fled the scene but soon turned himself in to transit police.
“This incident was unprovoked, and the victim does not appear to have had any interaction with the subject,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a news conference.
Police identified the suspect as 61-year-old Simon Martial. He is charged with second-degree murder. Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox said that Martial, who is homeless, has a criminal history and has been on parole.
“He does have in the past three emotionally disturbed encounters with us that we have documented,” said Wilcox.
Another woman told police that the attacker had first approached her, a few minutes prior, and she had feared he would push her onto the tracks. She moved away from him, and witnessed him push Go instead.
In recent months, there have been multiple incidents of stabbings, assaults and riders being shoved onto tracks. In September, three transit employees were attacked in separate incidents on the same day. In May, multiple riders were attacked and slashed by a group of assailants on a train in lower Manhattan. Four separate stabbings, two of which were fatal, occurred within hours on a single subway line in February.
The murder of Go comes a week after Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul, both Democrats, announced plans to strengthen subway policing and outreach to homeless people in the city’s streets and trains. The plans are controversial, as the city and country have also faced many complaints of over-policing and police brutality.
The city has repeatedly said that it will deploy more police to subways. In September, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority completed the installation of security cameras in all 472 subway stations citywide. Hochul said last week that she she intends to create five teams of social workers and medical professionals to help those living on streets and subways to shelter, housing and services.
The Saturday incident has prompted many to question whether the attack was racially motivated, as Go was of Asian descent. Martial is black. Police said that they are currently investigating whether it was a hate crime, but noted that the first woman Martial approached was not Asian.
Adams said Saturday in the wake of the attack, “We want to continue to highlight how imperative it is that people receive the right mental health services, particularly on our subway system. To lose a New Yorker in this fashion will only continue to elevate the fears of individuals not using our subway system.”
He added, “Our recovery is dependent on the public safety in this city and in the subway system.”