Attack With Hammer in NYC Subway Station Leaves Woman in Critical Condition

A woman is in critical condition after being violently robbed Thursday night at a subway station in New York City.

The 57-year-old woman, who works as a researcher for the city's Department of Health, was kicked down the stairs, then struck in the head with a hammer shortly before midnight at the Queens Plaza station in Long Island City, the New York Police Department said in a statement. The assailant fled the scene after taking the woman's purse.

The attack reflects a larger trend of crime on the subway or at subway stations. In 2021, New York City experienced its highest number of public transit assaults since 1997. There were 100 more felonies committed in the subway system last year than in 2020.

The woman is hospitalized at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center with a fractured skull and lacerations to the head, the police statement added. According to WNBC-TV, two phones, two rings, cash and debit and credit cards were inside her purse when the assailant took it.

The NYPD is asking for the public's assistance in identifying the person who carried out the attack, which was caught on video. Police said the suspect is male and wore a black hooded coat, black mask, blue jeans and black shoes. He was also carrying a cane.

New York City, subway, attacker
A woman is in critical condition after being beaten with a hammer in a New York City subway station. Above, a photo of the alleged assailant provided by the New York Police Department. Police are asking the public to help find the attacker. New York Police Department

When fleeing the scene, the man headed southbound on Queens Plaza South on foot, police added.

New York City's government is looking to tackle the issue of violence in the public transit system. Mayor Eric Adams said that NYPD officers will carry out visual inspections to determine any potential threats. Adams added that mental health professionals are responding to issues in the subway system but said they are not responding quickly enough.

Last week, Adams said he would work with Governor Kathy Hochul to support more housing and mental health services in an effort to reduce the amount of homeless people using the subway for shelter.

Following the death of Michelle Go, who was killed last month after a homeless man allegedly pushed her onto tracks as a train was coming, more people have been calling for safety measures such as platform barriers. Though Adams has voiced his support for the idea, an official with the Metropolitan Transit Authority said the barriers would be difficult to install due to the age and structure of the subway system, as well as interference with ADA accessibility.

Police ask that anyone with information connected to Thursday night's incident call NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online via the CrimeStoppers website.

Update 2/25/22, 12:54 p.m. ET: This story was updated with additional information.

New York City, subway
A woman is in critical condition after being struck with a hammer at a subway station in New York City. Stock Image/Getty Images