Exclusive: MTA worker shot in face with BB gun, advocates sound alarm

Local News

NEW YORK — MTA conductor Trevor Thomas was still very shaken Tuesday, about a week after being shot in the face with a BB gun. If it had been a real gun, he said, it could have killed him.

“It could have been worse,” Thomas said. “I was just scared and traumatized I wouldn’t be here to tell the story today.”

It happened last week around 9 p.m. Monday night. Thomas had just taken a break and was headed back to his downtown to train at the 219th Street station when he said he felt a stinging pain in his nose.

“I felt my nose I was bleeding all over the train, bleeding over my shirt,” he said.

Monday’s attack was the third time Thomas says he has been assaulted including being spat on. While subway crime is down, attacks are still happening against employees.

During the week of Nov. 1, there were two assaults on subway staff and four on the buses; there were seven complaints about harassment on MTA staff in the subway and 28 on buses.

In a statement regarding Thomas’ shooting, a spokesperson for TWU said: “This is a heinous attack on a transit worker which underscores the need for more protections and stronger laws to keep our members safe.”

Tramell Thompson, founder of Progressive Action which represents a faction of union workers, said the words are not enough: the MTA and the union dropped the ball by keeping this and other incidents quiet.

“It boggles my mind that a train conductor can be shot in the face and there was no word from the company or the union,” he said.

The Transit Workers Union Local 100 responded to Thompson’s statement, calling it “ridiculously false.”

“The suggestion that TWU Local 100 has been silent on the issue of assaults is ridiculously false. TWU has waged very public campaigns to increase penalties for assaults, increase the number of police officers in the subway, increase police attention to buses, and has arranged scores of interviews with transit workers who were assaulted, as anyone who watches television news or glances at the newspapers knows,” Pete Donohue, director of press and media relations for TWU Local 100, said in a statement.

The MTA released the following statement:

“Our first priority is the safety of transit riders and employees, which makes recent incidents in which guns were displayed repugnant and unacceptable. Given aggressive investigation by the NYPD in these and other cases, combined with security cameras at every station in the system, it’s no coincidence serious subway crime is the lowest it’s been in a quarter century.”

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