Police cuffed a homeless man Tuesday who they believe shoved a woman’s head into a moving train on the Upper East Side on Sunday.
Kamal Semrade, 39, was busted for allegedly bashing the woman’s face into a train at around 6:05 a.m. on May 21 at the Lexington Avenue-63rd Street station on the E line. The woman, 35, was left in critical condition.
Semrade struggled to avoid reporters Tuesday as he was marched out of Transit District 1 by detectives in Columbus Circle just after noon. Semrade refused to answer questions about his alleged crime and hung his head as he exited.
According to police sources, the victim and Semrade both got on the train in Queens Sunday at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue station. They both entered the station at around the same time, with Semrade jumping the turnstile in front of her as she swiped in with her Metrocard. Authorities do not believe they knew one another.
“There is no recognition. She looks at him and swipes. They then take the same train and they get off at 63rd and Lexington Avenue,” Chief of Detectives James Essig told amNewYork Metro. “We don’t know if there was any interaction on that train.”
With the help of security footage, Essig says police were able to spot Semrade holding a cup of coffee before allegedly shoving the woman’s head into a moving E train and making his getaway down a staircase. The victim was rushed to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center where she underwent surgery for spinal injuries.
Chief Essig said that while the victim was conscious following the attack, she has since been sedated while she recovers from her injuries. Police say that they have not been able to interview her given her injuries.
Police nabbed Semrade following a CrimeStoppers tip informing police that he was at a homeless shelter near LaGuardia Airport.
The MTA praised the NYPD for the swift arrest and offered condolences to the victim.
“The NYPD acted quickly, using pictures from MTA cameras, to arrest a suspect and start delivering justice to the victim, who is in our thoughts at this terrible time. It’s now up to prosecutors to pursue maximum consequences available under the law,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement.
The NYPD will continue investigating if the victim was targeted or if the attack was random. Semrade is charged with assault and attempted murder.
Additional reporting by Ben Brachfeld.