Woman suspect in deadly New York subway shove has mental illness: Police

Members of the New York City police (NYPD) work at the scene after a commuter was pushed in front of a subway train as it arrived at Times Square station in New York City.
Members of the New York City police (NYPD) work at the scene after a commuter was pushed in front of a subway train as it arrived at Times Square station in New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of the New York City police (NYPD) work at the scene after a commuter was pushed in front of a subway train as it arrived at Times Square station in New York City.
Members of the New York City police (NYPD) work at the scene after a commuter was pushed in front of a subway train as it arrived at Times Square station in New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS
Members of the New York City police (NYPD) work at the scene after a commuter was pushed in front of a subway train as it arrived at Times Square station in New York City.
Members of the New York City police (NYPD) work at the scene after a commuter was pushed in front of a subway train as it arrived at Times Square station in New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The US authorities have identified a woman who killed an unsuspecting traveller by shoving her off a New York City subway platform into the path of an approaching train on Monday (Nov 7).

The suspect, 30-year-old Melanie Liverpool of Queens, was taken into custody at the scene and later charged with second-degree murder, NBC New York reported, citing police sources.

Liverpool has a history of mental illness, police say.

She previously claimed to police she had shoved another person in front of an oncoming train at Union Square station on Oct 19.

But police did not find her claim credible and treated the death in that case as a suicide, as two witnesses said the victim had jumped in front of the train, according to NBC New York.

The victim in Monday's case, also a woman, was pushed onto the tracks as a southbound No. 1 train pulled into the Times Square station around 1pm EST (2am Singapore time), and she was pronounced dead on the scene shortly afterward. Witnesses immediately alerted police officers.

It was not clear if the suspect and the victim knew each other, nor was it known if they had some type of dispute prior to the alleged shove.

"What happened here today is tragic," Joseph Fox, chief of transit for the New York City Police Department, told reporters at the midtown Manhattan subway station, one of city's largest and busiest.

The victim was standing on the platform when the suspect, wearing a pink shirt and scarf, lunged at her, police said.

Two hours after the incident, emergency responders were working to remove the woman's body from the tracks and resume subway service at the station before peak evening commuting hours.

Investigators were reviewing surveillance video and interviewing witnesses to determine a motive, said William Aubry, the police department's chief of Manhattan detectives.

Many of those who saw the attack were visibly shaken.

Dozens of people are hit by New York City subway trains each year, although most of the incidents are accidental, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the system.

Last year, a woman was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison for fatally pushing a man into the path of an oncoming New York subway train in 2012.