Man arrested after woman pushed onto New York City subway tracks

David K. Li
·2 min read

A New York City woman was shoved onto subway tracks as a train approached, in a terrifying, random attack caught on security video, authorities said Friday.

Luckily, the woman ended up inside — and not on top of — two rails and kept her head down as the train passed over at the Union Square Station in Manhattan at 8:29 a.m. Thursday, witnesses and law enforcement said.

"It's very disturbing," New York Police Department Capt. Kathleen O'Reilly said. "We've seen him (the suspect on video) waiting, calculating for the train to approach the station."

A 24-year-old homeless man, Aditya Vemulapati, was arrested and booked on suspicion of attempted murder, reckless endangerment, attempted assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree, according to a criminal complaint filed by Manhattan prosecutors.

A judge ordered Vemulapati held until his Dec. 4 court date. Vemulapati's attorney declined comment.

A man was arrested in New York City after he pushed a woman onto the subway tracks before an incoming train came into the station. The woman fell between the train tracks and narrowly survived the incident with no major injuries. (NBC News)
A man was arrested in New York City after he pushed a woman onto the subway tracks before an incoming train came into the station. The woman fell between the train tracks and narrowly survived the incident with no major injuries. (NBC News)

"She fell, fortunately for her, between the roll bed and rails, and by the grace of God sustained minor injuries," O'Reilly said.

The 40-year-old woman, who was waiting to board a 5 train, suffered cuts to her head and body.

"I see someone falling into the track and I say, 'What the hell?' " witness Andre Gunter said. "The conductor stopped the train before it could pull up 100 percent and then he came out traumatized, he was like, 'That was a person.'"

The station serves about 22 million passengers annually. There were plenty of police officers on duty there and they quickly made the arrest, according to O'Reilly.

The Union Square attack followed another shoving incident 28 blocks north at the 42nd Street/Bryant Park Station on Wednesday night.

Suspect Justin Pena, 24, allegedly pushed a 36-year-old UPS worker onto the tracks after the victim refused to give him money.

Pena had not hired or been assigned a defense lawyer by Friday morning, a Manhattan District Attorney representative said.

"These appalling attacks have absolutely no place in our system,” MTA representative Andrei Berman said in a statement. "They are horrific incidents that no one should have to experience — period. We'll continue working closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of New Yorkers while riding the system."