Police arrested 57-year-old William Blunt and charged him with attempted murder, robbery and assault.
57-year-old Nina Rothschild was hit on the head by a suspect in a brutal robbery on Thursday when she entered a subway station in Long Island City, Queens.
Rothschild is in critical condition after police believe she was hit as many as 13 times.
Rothschild, who lives nearby, was entering Queens Plaza station when a suspect approached her from behind.
He kicked her and hit her several times with a hammer on the head before snatching her purse.
Rothschild received a skull fracture and cut head wounds and is in critical condition at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell.
She is a senior health scientist at the New York Department of Health, which is just around the corner from the subway station. She was returning home from work at the time of the attack.
MTA Chairman and CEO Jano Liber issued a statement Sunday saying:
“It was a heartless, angry attack on a client who was just trying to get home after a long day’s work to keep the health and safety of New Yorkers. We are grateful for the prompt work of NYPD detectives and hope that the prosecutor’s office will now bring justice to the victim and her family.».
Her brother Gerson Rothschild, who is also a scientist in Upper Manhattan, Colombia, says he spoke to her on Friday morning and she is recovering from surgery.
“From what she told me on the phone, she was just walking up the steps to get on the subway on the way home from work, and she was attacked by someone from behind,” he said. She apparently remembers all this and kept shouting, “Stop, stop,” but the man didn’t stop either, I don’t remember exactly what she said, but finally grabbed a bag with a cell phone and ID and apparently some jewelry and escape with them. “
Gerson Rothschild says he and his sister are lifelong New Yorkers.
He added that he is particularly confident in Mayor Adams ’plan to make the subway safer.
Mayor Eric Adams said he was “very angry” that the city official was attacked as he walked to the subway.
He said that while the city is trying to provide services to those who live on the subway, “we have to deal with those who are now on our streets who are dangerous, who are violent and completely ignored.”
“A woman traveling on a train should not be hit multiple times on the head,” Adams said. “And to make us believe that such dangerous people, in some corners, that we have to say because they hurt, they have to cause pain. I don’t subscribe to that. We need to catch him. He needs a prisoner.”
Police believe the suspect, who walks with a cane, is homeless. Adams said the city’s new subway security program, which aims to help and remove the homeless from the system, attracts about 125 people a day.
“I hope that the homeless assistance program will have some results in helping the people who need it to the best they can and potentially reduce crime,” said Gerson Rothschild.
Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi issued the following statement:
“Our thoughts with Nina and her family after this horrific incident. Nina has worked tirelessly in the service of her colleagues from New York and she really is a health hero. The Department of Health and I will do our best to support her in recovery -and we ask all New Yorkers to keep her and her family in mind while respecting their privacy at this difficult time. ”
The Department of Health will provide employees with greater protection as they pass through the area at night, and the Queens District President is demanding additional police resources around Queens Plaza Subway Station.
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