Subway crime: Woman savagely beaten with hammer during New York robbery

NEW YORK – A 57-year-old woman was struck in the head by a suspect with a hammer in a brutal robbery as she entered a New York City subway station.

Nina Rothschild is in critical condition after police believe she was beaten up to 13 times.

Rothschild, who lives nearby, was entering Queens Plaza station when the suspect surprised her from behind just after 11.20pm on Thursday.

He kicked her and hit her on the head several times with a hammer before snatching her purse.

Rothschild suffered a fractured skull and head lacerations and is in critical condition at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell.

She’s a senior health scientist for the NYC Department of Health, which is just around the corner from the subway station. She was returning from work at the time of the attack.

Her brother, Gerson Rothschild, who is also a scientist in Upper Manhattan at Columbia, says he spoke to her Friday morning and that she is recovering from surgery.

“From what she told me on the phone, she was just coming down the steps to get on the subway on her way home from work when she was attacked by someone from behind,” he said. “She apparently remembers all of this and she kept yelling, ‘stop, stop’ but the person wouldn’t stop either, I can’t remember exactly what she said, but eventually grabbed the bag with the cell phone and personal papers and apparently some jewelry and fled with it.”

Gerson Rothschild says he and his sister have been lifelong New Yorkers and he is confident an arrest will be made.

He added that he was particularly confident in Mayor Adams’ plan to make subways safer.

Mayor Eric Adams said he was “really angry” that a city worker was attacked as he walked to the subway.

He said that while the city tries to provide services to people living on the subway, “we have to deal with those who are on our streets right now who are dangerous, who are violent and who have complete disregard.”

“A woman on the train shouldn’t be hit over the head with a hammer, repeatedly,” Adams said. “And for us to believe that dangerous people like that, in certain corners, that it has to be said because they are in pain, they should inflict pain. I don’t subscribe to that. We have to catch it. It has to be incarcerated.”

Police believe the suspect, who is walking with a cane, is homeless. Adams said the city’s new subway safety program, which aims to both help and remove the homeless from the system, has hired about 125 people a day.

“I hope the homeless outreach program will yield results in getting as much help as possible to people who need it, potentially reducing crime,” said Gerson Rothschild.

Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi issued the following statement:

“Our hearts go out to Nina and her family following this horrific incident. Nina has worked tirelessly to serve her fellow New Yorkers and she is truly a public health hero. The Department of Health and I will do our utmost to as possible to support her in her recovery – and we ask all New Yorkers to keep her and her family in their thoughts while respecting their privacy during this difficult time.”

The Department of Health will provide employees with greater protection when walking around the area at night and the Queens Borough President is requesting additional police resources around the Queens Plaza subway station.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in the search for the suspect.

Call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit tips by visiting the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or by messaging @NYPDTips on Twitter.

READ ALSO | Mayor Adams’ subway safety plan begins after several violent incidents in New York

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