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Man Killed by No. 4 Train After Being Pushed Onto Subway Tracks

A 24-year-old man was arrested Monday night and charged with murder after pushing another man to his death on the subway tracks at a station in East Harlem, the police said.

The attack by the man, Carlton McPherson, was unprovoked, officials said. It took place at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue station at 6:48 p.m., when Mr. McPherson shoved the man in front of an oncoming No. 4 train, officials said. The conductor was unable to stop the train in time to save him, the police said.

The police had not identified the victim as of Tuesday morning. A senior law enforcement official said Monday evening that the man who was in custody appeared to have a history of mental illness. He had several arrests in Brooklyn, the first one at age 16, the official said.

Train service at the station had resumed by 9 p.m. Monday, but a large number of police officers remained at the scene. Some riders expressed fear of violence on platforms and on trains.

“The subway has been insane lately,” Ray Velez, 60, from the Bronx, said as he waited on the platform two hours after the attack. “You have to look everywhere now. It’s just out of control.”

He added, “I wish someone would notice how many mentally ill people we have on the subways and try to get them out of the subway.”

Others who live and work near the station expressed a weary sense of frustration. They described regular encounters with people experiencing problems related to drug addiction, homelessness and mental illness, and their own efforts to remain on guard.

“I’m very careful” inside the station, said Geri Tolentino, 54, who has worked for two years at the Harlem Food Square deli, near the entrance to the 125th Street station. “It’s not surprising — there’s a lot of crime downstairs.”

The attack is the latest in a series of violent episodes that have led officials to increase the police presence in the subway and seek to reassure New Yorkers that the system is safe.

Earlier this month, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that she would deploy the National Guard and the State Police in the system to increase security and ease New Yorkers’ fears.

But less than two weeks after Ms. Hochul’s announcement, a fight on the A train that ended with a shooting reinforced the difficulties of policing every inch of the sprawling system. In that confrontation, captured in a dramatic video recorded by a passenger, a man who had been menacing a rider was first stabbed and then shot with his own handgun.

Monday’s attack happened hours after Police Department leaders had gathered at a different subway station on West 125th Street in Harlem to announce that an additional 800 police officers would be sent into the subway to crack down on fare evasion.

“Our riders should not be subjected to open acts of lawlessness anywhere in our subway system,” Timothy Skretch, deputy chief of the Transit Bureau, said at the news conference, “and that tone of law and order must start at the fare gates.”

Many New Yorkers’ fears about the subway rose during the pandemic, especially after a man with a history of mental illness assaulted Michelle Alyssa Go in January 2022, pushing her onto the southbound tracks as an R train pulled into the Times Square station. She was killed.

This year, a woman had both her feet amputated in early March after her boyfriend pushed her onto the tracks, where she was struck by a southbound No. 3 train. And a woman was hospitalized in critical condition last October after a man described by officials as emotionally disturbed shoved her in front of an E train that was leaving the 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue station.

Andy Newman, Hurubie Meko and Karla Marie Sanford contributed reporting.

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