A battered Bronx man, after a random stranger knocked him onto the subway tracks, vowed his return to the trains while warning fellow strap-hangers they could be next.
“You’re hearing from one of the victims,” the 62-year-old survivor told the Daily News on Tuesday. “Let them realize when you walk downstairs, you don’t know what you’re up against. You take things for granted.
“Not anymore. Not in New York City.”
The outraged city man was on his way to work and waiting for a No. 4 train inside the 149th St.-Grand Concourse station when sucker-punched by a lone assailant on Sunday night around 9:45 p.m. Police officers helped him to safety from the tracks and quickly took the suspect into custody.
“Imagine I pay $2.75 for someone to hit me and throw me on the train tracks,” the man declared. “What’s going on in New York … We have these outlaws that are using the subway system to commit crimes.”
The victim recited a laundry list of bruised body parts, from his knees and his shins to his wrists and his elbows, before declaring his plans to get back on the subway.
“This kid is not going to tell me how to live my life,” declared the defiant Bronx resident, offering no sympathy for the suspect. “I’m not sorry for him … I’m more vigilant now. I’m looking back, I’m looking forward, I’m looking sideways.”
The victim noted the city’s recent upturn in crime and blasted New York’s officials for the dangerous conditions, recalling how he recently noticed other subway riders standing with their backs to the wall of the platform to protect themselves.
“We have a mayor, he’s talking a lot of talk but he’s not walking the walk,” said the man. “Why do we have to walk onto the train and walk with fear? Every time I talk about it, I get more and more angry.”
Cops said 21-year-old DeShaun Smith, was possibly playing the “knockout game” where assailants try to leave their targets unconscious from a single blow. Smith, of Brooklyn, was arrested on charges of assault, harassment and reckless endangerment after the slugging and shoving.
“I landed in the center of the tracks, feet first,” recounted the the victim. “Then knees. Then I was on the palms of my hands. I shook my head and said, ‘What the hell happened?’”
The NYPD starting handing out fliers Monday to straphangers offering common-sense safety tips, although a first draft was a bit more unsettling with warnings to “cover jewelry” and to “wait and walk close to the wall.”
The man added he had no idea what the “knockout game” was about, but wryly noted the attacker “didn’t do such a good job.” Smith had a prior arrest for grand larceny, police said, and the victim said he wasn’t looking forward to seeing the suspect in court.
“I hope I don’t have to look at the guy,” the man said. “You can do something better than what you’re doing … you caused me a lot of pain.”
The electrician at NewYork-Presbyterian hospital acknowledged the man in custody came very close to ending his life.
“If I had touched the 600-volt rail, I would have been dead today,” he said. “If a train would have been coming, I would be dead. If I had fell headfirst, I would be in the hospital like a veggie.”
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