Man Charged With Attempted Murder After Attacking Woman With Hammer in NYC Subway Station

A man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly attacking a woman with a hammer and stealing her purse in a New York City subway station.

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A man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly attacking a woman with a hammer and stealing her purse in a New York City subway station, CNN reports.

William Blount, 57, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Monday night and faced additional charges of first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, according to a news release from the Queens County District Attorney’s office. He faces up to 25 years in prison if found guilty and will return to court on March 3. Police also arrested Denise Alston, 57, in connection with the attack after she was allegedly found to have the victim’s credit card and other belongings on her person. 

The charges come after Nina Rothschild, a scientist for the NYC Department of Health, was attacked just 15 minutes after leaving work as she entered the Queens Plaza Subway Station last week. She was initially kicked down a flight of stairs before the assailant hit her multiple times in the head with a hammer and made off with her belongings.

Per police, she was taken to a local hospital to receive treatment for a skull fracture, and her brother Gerson Rothschild has since told CNN that wire mesh has been put in to replace parts of her skull. Her brother additionally said Nina will undergo months of rehab at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and is currently unable to move her foot either from nerve damage or a mental block.

“This was a brutal, gratuitous attack,” District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “The subways are too integral to the lifeblood of our City for riders to be terrorized when using them. The violence has to stop.”

The violent attack comes as Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul face continued pressure to address safety concerns within the MTA subway system. Last Friday, the pair unveiled the “Safety Subway Plan,” which aims to address “public safety concerns and [support] people experiencing homelessness and serious mental illness on New York City’s subways.” The plan’s announcement was then followed by six separate stabbings over the weekend, each of which occurred in an NYC subway station.

“It is cruel and inhumane to allow unhoused people to live on the subway, and unfair to paying passengers and transit workers who deserve a clean, orderly, and safe environment,” Adams said of the “Safety Subway Plan.” “The days of turning a blind eye to this growing problem are over.”

“For too long our mental health care system suffered from disinvestment, and the pandemic has only made things harder for New Yorkers with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness,” Hochul added in a separate statement. “We must work together to keep our subways—the lifeblood of New York City—safe for all riders, and to get help and services to those in need.”

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