Police Officers escort Erika Menendez to an awaiting car in
the Queens borough of New York. Menendez has been charged
with 'second-degree murder as a hate crime' over the death
of a man pushed in front of a subway train. REUTERS/Joshua
A woman suspected of shoving a man to his death in front
of an oncoming New York subway train has been arrested and
charged with "second-degree murder as a hate crime" in the
second such fatality this month for one of the world's busiest
The district attorney for the New York City borough of Queens
said Erika Menendez, 31, who was seen pacing the subway
platform and muttering to herself before the attack, had told
investigators that she pushed the victim, Sunando Sen, 46, on
Thursday (local time) because "I hate Hindus and Muslims."
Menendez was taken into custody in Brooklyn by authorities
acting on a tip from someone who recognized the suspect from
video of the incident that was aired on television, a
spokeswoman for the district attorney told Reuters.
"The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway
commuter's worst nightmare - being suddenly and senselessly
pushed into the path of an oncoming train," District Attorney
Richard Brown said in a statement.
"Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the
defendant and which precipitated the defendant's actions can
never be tolerated in a civilized society," he said.
The prosecutor's statement quoted Menendez as telling
investigators: "I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks
because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they
put down the twin towers I've been beating them up."
Her alleged admission was an apparent reference to the Sept.
11, 2001, attack on Manhattan's World Trade Center by Muslim
extremists who flew two hijacked jetliners into the twin
Brown's statement gave no indication of the victim's
ethnicity or religion or Menendez might have taken Sen to be
The spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Meris Campbell,
said she did not believe the victim was wearing any clothing
that would have led someone to identify him as being a
Menendez is awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on
a criminal complaint charging her with second-degree murder
as a hate crime, an offense that carries a minimum sentence
of 20 years to life in prison. The minimum penalty for
second-degree murder alone is 15 years to life, Campbell
If convicted, Menendez could face a maximum penalty of 25
years to life.
Witnesses told police a woman appeared to be mumbling and
pacing Thursday evening before she approached an unsuspecting
man from behind on the platform of an elevated station in the
borough of Queens.
She then shoved him onto the subway track as the train pulled
into the station, witnesses said. Brown said Sen died of
multiple blunt-force trauma.
After shoving Sen on Thursday, the suspect ran from the
station to the street in a scene caught on surveillance video
footage that police released on Friday as they searched for
Sen's death was the second this month of a New York subway
rider pushed onto the tracks of the city's more than
100-year-old subway system.
On Dec. 3, Ki-Suck Han was killed after being shoved onto
subway tracks in Manhattan as a train entered a station near
Times Square. A suspect, Naeem Davis, has been charged with
second-degree murder. Authorities have disclosed a possible
Including Thursday's incident, 139 people have been struck by
New York City subway trains so far in 2012, and 54 of them
died, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman said
on Friday. He said the tally was preliminary and subject to