Michelle Alyssa Go was waiting for the train at around 9:30 a.m. when the incident happened, BuzzFeed News reports. The man who allegedly pushed her, 61-year-old Simon Martial, took off, but later turned himself into police. Charges against Martial in connection to the attack are currently undecided, according to Chief Jason Wilcox from the NYPD detective bureau.
Wilcox also said during a press conference with New York Mayor Eric Adams that Martial had previous run-ins with police: “He does have in the past three emotionally disturbed encounters with us that we have documented.” Police speculate he was homeless.
“This incident was unprovoked, and the victim does not appear to have any interaction with the subject,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “This was a senseless, absolutely senseless, act of violence.”
Because 40-year-old Go was Asian, authorities are considering whether the attack was related to her race, particularly since Asians in America have been the target of hate crimes since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s unclear what Martial’s motive was.
Wilcox revealed that just before Martial attacked Go, he was harassing and threatening another woman on the train platform who wasn’t Asian. She was afraid he would push her, so she moved out of the way before seeing him kill Go.