Man ar­rested in fa­tal sub­way push

Photo of vic­tim taken be­fore im­pact runs in news­pa­per.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By colleen Long naeem Davis has been ar­rested.

NEWYORK — Po­lice ar­rested a home­less man Wed­nes­day in the death of a sub­way rider who was pushed onto the tracks just be­fore a train struck him.

Naeem Davis, 30, was taken into cus­tody for ques­tion­ing Tues­day af­ter video showed a man fit­ting his de­scrip­tion work­ing with street ven­dors near Rock­e­feller Cen­ter. Po­lice said Davis made state­ments im­pli­cat­ing him­self in the death of Ki-Suck Han of Queens.

Davis was ar­rested on a sec­ond-de­gree mur­der charge. He was in cus­tody, and it wasn’t im­me­di­ately clear if he had a lawyer. It also wasn’t clear when he would ap­pear in court. He has sev­eral prior ar­rests in New York and Penn­syl­va­nia on mostly mi­nor charges in­clud­ing drug pos­ses­sion.

Wit­nesses told in­ves­ti­ga­tors they saw a man talk­ing to him­self Mon­day af­ter­noon be­fore he ap­proached the 58-yearold Han at the Times Square sta­tion, got into an al­ter­ca­tion with him and pushed him into the train’s path.

The New York Post pub­lished a photo on its front page Tues­day of Han with his head turned to­ward the train, his arms reach­ing up but un­able to climb off the tracks in time. The photo was taken by free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher R. Umar Ab­basi, who was wait­ing to catch a train.

Ab­basi told NBC’s “To­day” show Wed­nes­day that he was try­ing to alert the mo­tor­man to what was go­ing on by flash­ing his cam­era.

He said he was shocked that peo­ple nearer to the vic­tim didn’t try to help in the 22 sec­onds be­fore the train struck.

“It took me a sec­ond to fig­ure out what was hap­pen­ing. … I saw the lights in the dis­tance. My mind was to alert the train,” Ab­basi said.

“The peo­ple who were stand­ing close to him … they could have moved and grabbed him and pulled him up. No one made an ef­fort,” he added.

Trains gen­er­ally ar­rive at the sta­tions go­ing 25 mph, but it’s not clear how fast the train was go­ing when it struck Han. The wait­ing area is nar­rower than other sub­way sta­tions, but the plat­form is still about a dozen feet wide.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tues­day that it ap­peared the sus­pect in Han’s death had “a psy­chi­atric prob­lem.”

The mayor said Han, “if I un­der­stand it, tried to break up a fight or some­thing and paid for it with his life.”

Sub­way pushes are feared but fairly un­usual. Among the more high­pro­file cases was the Jan­uary 1999 death of Ken­dra Web­dale, who was shoved to her death by a former men­tal pa­tient.

Sub­way rid­ers said Wed­nes­day they were shocked by Han’s death but that it’s al­ways a silent fear for many of the more than 5.2 mil­lion com­muters on an av­er­age week­day.

“Stuff like that you don’t really think about ev­ery day. You know it could hap­pen. So when it does hap­pen it’s scary, but then what it all comes down to is you have to pro­tect your­self,” said Aliyah Syphrett, 23, who sat on a bench as she waited at Penn­syl­va­nia Sta­tion in Man­hat­tan.

Diana Henry, 79, a Long Is­land res­i­dent, was wait­ing for a train at 34th Street. She stood as far from the plat­form as pos­si­ble — about a dozen feet back, lean­ing against the wall.

“I’m al­ways care­ful, but I’m even more care­ful af­ter what hap­pened,” she said. “I stand back be­cause there are so many cra­zies in this city that you never know.”

Se­nate Democrats on Wed­nes­day blocked Repub­li­cans from bring­ing up an im­mi­gra­tion bill of­fer­ing per­ma­nent res­i­dence visas for for­eign­ers with ad­vanced de­grees that passed the House last week de­spite the op­po­si­tion of most Democrats. Se­nate Repub­li­can John Cornyn of Texas sought unan­i­mous con­sent to con­sider the bill that pro­vides some 55,000 green cards a year to those with master’s and doc­tor­ate de­grees from U.S. col­leges in the fields of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics.

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