Police have released a sketch of a woman they believe pushed an unsuspecting rider to his death in front of a subway train in Queens Thursday night. NY1’s Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.
For the second time this month, an unsuspecting subway rider was pushed into the path of a train and killed.
"It's just devastating," one rider said. "It's not that often that it happens, but more often than you think."
At about 8 p.m. Thursday witnesses say they saw a woman pacing and muttering to herself on the elevated platform of the 40th Street station in Sunnyside.
The woman then took a seat alone on a bench. As the number 7 train approached she got up and shoved a man, identified as Sunando Sen, 46, of Corona.
Witnesses told police that his back was to her and he never saw her coming.
"It's very sad. There are lot of people are not too stable and that has a lot to do with it," one woman said. "I'm very nervous coming up here."
"I'm scared to death," one rider said. "After the last man that got pushed, I'm not trying to put my life in danger. I have a 10-year-old son to go home to."
Police say after the woman shoved the man, she ran down two flights of stairs and onto Queens Boulevard.
She is believed to be in her 20s, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and heavyset. She was wearing a blue, white and gray ski jacket and Nikes that were gray on top and red on the bottom.
In addition to rattling riders, this latest subway death has also reminded people to be especially observant of their surroundings.
"My precaution is to stand back and stay away from the yellow line until the train stops," a rider said. "That's the only time I'm moving towards the train."
Others recognize there is only so much one can do to protect themselves.
"What can you really do when somebody wants to hurt someone," a rider said. "It's not like you can put a rail up there."
One rider at the 40th Street station says after this tragedy, she hopes the MTA will at least install surveillance cameras. In this case, Police were lucky to find surveillance video from a nearby business.
In the wake of the recent subway pushings, city and MTA officials stressed that the subways are safe, but also reminded New Yorkers to be aware of their surroundings.
"I encourage the eight-and-a-half million New Yorkers who take our subway as well as our commuter rail system to stand back from the edge, and if you see anybody who is acting erratically, the way this woman, the alleged perpetrator, was, I encourage everyone to call 911 immediately," said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota.
"I don't know that there is a way to prevent," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "There's always going to be somebody, a deranged person. You can say it's only two out of the 3 or 4 million people that ride the subway every day, but two is two too many."
One of the most high profile subway push deaths happened in 1999, when former mental patient Andrew Goldstein was arrested and later convicted of the murder of Kendra Webdale.
Goldstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
The incident led to the passage of Kendra's Law, which lets mental health officials supervise patients who live outside institutions to ensure they are taking their medications and do not pose safety threats.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.