Person of interest taken into custody in series of violent subway attacks, law enforcement sources say

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — Law enforcement sources say a person of interest was taken into custody in four separate subway attacks — two of them deadly.

The crimes are just the latest in a string of violence in the subway across the city.

In Saturday’s violence, officials are investigating four total incidents, two of which were fatal, of stabbings and slashings that occurred on A line subway trains in less than 24 hours between Friday at 11:20 a.m. and Saturday at 1:28 a.m.

Officials say a man was found with numerous stab wounds to his neck and torso onboard an A train around 11:30 p.m. Friday night stopped at the Mott Avenue subway station in Far Rockaway, Queens.

EMS arrived and pronounced the unidentified victim dead at the scene.

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Just two hours later, a 44-year-old woman was found with several stab wounds throughout her body on an A train at West 207th Street and Broadway around 1:30 a.m.

EMS also arrived and pronounced the female dead at the scene.

Officials say the two victims appear to have been homeless.

According to police, two more stabbings occurred at an A line subway station on West 181st Street in which a 43-year-old and 67-year-old were stabbed.

Both survived and were taken to area hospitals where they are recovering.

As police investigated the two separate killings, the NYPD on Saturday vowed to deploy 500 additional officers to patrol the system.

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With Saturday’s deaths only the latest in a mounting toll of violence, calls rang out for beefed-up efforts to protect the subways.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg called on the governor to provide resources to help address the mental health crisis.

“More than a year ago, Governor Cuomo and the MTA Board called for an increased police presence across our system to keep our employees and the riding public safe, and we’re glad the City and NYPD have agreed to add 500 additional NYPD officers to the system. The recent horrifying attacks demonstrate that these officers are a strong step forward, but more must be done. We continue to face an acute mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and we need additional dedicated resources to address this challenge.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea held a news conference Saturday afternoon regarding the recent string of attacks, vowing to step up efforts to protect the system.

He said the NYPD will increase patrols on the New York City transit system with an additional 500 officers.

“We will immediately commence a surge of officers to patrol both above and below ground to ensure that everyone that rides on our transit system on a daily basis not only is safe, but just as importantly, feel safe,” Shea said. “This surge will result in an additional 500 offices, which is a significant increase to the staffing of our transit bureau, and they will be deployed immediately throughout New York City.”

Shea said the increased deployment would include officers working on both straight time and overtime.

“Yesterday… we redeployed 75 plainclothes officers into uniform, to increase uniform presence in the subway. We’ve also increased overtime, hundreds more officers are planned to be rolled out starting Monday on overtime. We also redeployed administrative assignments. 40 officers from administrative assignments are going to be patrolling the subway platforms commencing Monday,” NYPD Chief of Transit Cathy O’Reilly said.

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