Updated 12/31/2012 09:50 AM
Psychiatric Evaluation Ordered For Suspect In Fatal Queens Subway Push
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A woman was arraigned Saturday night in connection with the death of a man who was pushed in front of a train in Queens Thursday night.
The Queens District Attorney's office says Erika Menendez, 31, is being charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.
Police say Menendez was taken into custody after she admitted to pushing 46-year-old Sunando Sen in front of a Flushing-bound 7 train at the 40th Street station in Sunnyside Thursday night.
The district attorney's office says Menendez told investigators, "I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the Twin Towers. I've been beating them up."
The judge at the arraignment ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Menendez.
Witnesses say Menendez was seen mumbling to herself and pacing the platform shortly before pushing Sen.
In the hours after the murder, Menendez appears to have posted "Happy New Year" on Facebook.
A number of people tell NY1 she used and sold drugs.
Several people also told the station that Menendez appeared to be mentally unstable, especially after her release from prison, where she served time for credit card fraud.
Sen, a native of India, lived in the Corona section of Queens with two roommates, and his friends honored him at a prayer service in that neighborhood on Sunday.
Mourners said Sen first came to the United States on a college scholarship and has no living relatives.
They described Sen as a kind, gentle, hardworking man who was Hindu but not very religious.
"So friendly, so quiet, so gentle. We feel so bad now because of his passing. Like my brother, like my friend," said M.D. Khan, Sen's roommate.
"Still I can't believe it. I feel like he's coming or maybe he's in hospital," said A.R. Suman, Sen's other roommate. "I didn't take it seriously."
At Satya Narayan Mandir, a Hindu temple near Sen's home, worshippers said they were saddened to hear he was targeted for being Hindu.
"This whole world is the family of God, so we are family of one God. We are not different from each other," said a man at the temple.
A former boss at a Manhattan copy center said Sen had just opened his own copy shop on the Upper West Side.
The funeral for Sen will be held on Monday.