A man was pushed to his death at a Sunnyside 7 Train stop on Thursday night, New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said.
A woman that witnesses said had been pacing and mumbling to herself shoved Sunando Sen, 46, into the path of an oncoming train at 8:04 p.m. from the northbound platform of the 40th and Lowery streets station.
When the train pulled in, the seated suspect quickly rose and pushed Sen, who had his back to her, into the path of the train. One witness told officers that the victim did not notice the woman.
Witnesses did not have time to react to the speedy action, police said.
Sen was struck by the front of the train. His body then became pinned under the second car as the train came to a stop and remained there until early Friday morning, Browne said.
The alleged shover fled the platform down two separate staircases. One led to the booth at the entry and the second flight led her onto the pedestrian island between the east and west bound lanes of Queens Boulevard. Police do not know where she ran to from there, Browne said.
Officers arrived on the scene where the power had been turned off for safety. Straphangers were using the stop later on Friday.
The suspect is a heavy set Hispanic woman in her 20s. She is approximately 5 feet, 5 inches with brown or blonde hair.
Detectives are looking for video footage around the neighborhood. Although there are more than 4,000 cameras in the subway network, the Sunnyside station is not equipped with its own cameras.
“Cameras don’t prevent the push, but it does strike me, in this post-9/11 world ,there was no camera,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “It would be easier to catch the person.”
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said he would like the Metropolitan Transit Authority to look at subway systems in Hong Kong and Taipei City for ways to prevent these incidents.
“Subway stations are equipped with a safety barrier to protect passengers from falling or being pushed onto the tracks,” Koo said. “The barrier doors open only when a train has arrived at the station and commuters are ready to enter and exit the train.”
He added that the barriers would prevent people from littering on the track as well as cut down noise. MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the barriers would be cost prohibitive.
This is the second subway death in the city this month. On Dec. 3, Ki Suk Han, 58, of East Elmhurst, was pushed into the path of a train at the 49th Street-7 Avenue stop on the Q line. Police charged Naeem Davis with the crime.