The woman who pushed a 46-year-old Indian immigrant onto the tracks of Queens subway station has been identified as 31-year-old Erika Menendez of the Bronx.
Menendez is being held in custody and will be charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, according to a source in the Queens district attorney’s office.
A law enforcement official said that Menendez “told the cops it was an act against Muslims.” The victim, Sunando Sen, was raised Hindu.
Sen was pushed onto the tracks around 8 pm Thursday at the 40th Street-Lowery Street station. He never saw Menendez coming and had no time to react. She then fled the scene, and wasn’t picked up by police until early Saturday after someone recognized her from a short video that showed her running away from the station.
There had been no previous contact between the two prior to the fatal push.
Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said he had no information about Menendez’s criminal or mental history, and that it would be “up to the court to determine if she is fit to stand trial.”
One of Sen’s roommates, Ar Suman, said he raced back to the city from upstate after finding out that Sen had been pushed onto the subway tracks.
“He was a very educated person and quite nice,” Suman said. “It is unbelievable. He never had a problem with anyone.”
After the attack, Mayor Bloomberg urged New Yorkers not to change their routines out of fear that Menendez was still roaming the streets. While this is the second time someone has been pushed in front of a train this month, these types of attacks are rare and should not change alter the way New Yorkers travel.