NEW YORK (PIX11) — In the days after an emotionally disturbed man pushed 40-year-old Michelle Alyssa Go to her death in the Times Square subway station, officials acknowledged the solution is not just more police.
“We need a state wide effort to address mental illness,” Attorney General Tish James said Monday. “Hospitals are closed, there are no beds, hardly any psychiatric beds in the city of New York.”
Simon Martial, who is homeless, was charged in the subway murder. He shouted about God as police hauled him away in handcuffs.
The NYPD does not believe the incident an anti-Asian hate crime, as the suspect attempted to push a different non-Asian person a minute before. However, it is little consolation to Ben Wei, who’s with the nonprofit Asians Fighting Injustice.
“For us, and our community, we’ve seen this pattern one too many times,” he said.
Asians Fighting Injustice will be hosting a the vigil on Tuesday night night for Go. Wei recounted fo some of the many heartwarming stories he has been told in the last two days.
“She was an amazing giving human being, she volunteered with the Junior League, she volunteered with the unhoused here in New York City,” Wei said. “It is heartbreaking ,unbelievably heartbreaking that she was taken from us,” Wei added.
Transit crime has increased more than 100% year-over-year, even as Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul have announced a new joint partnership to increase patrols and mental health resources underground. Despite the numbers, Mayor Adams continued to insist the system was safe Saturday.
Manhattan State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niu called for change. From physical safety barriers like we see in other parts of the world to housing, Niu said there was work to be done.
“I’m glad we are talking seriously in the city and state level about our transit system, and making it safe, but there are investments we need here,” she said.
She is among those advocating for a “People’s Budget” to raise taxes on the wealthy as New Yorkers to fund social services, transit, education, housing and health. The assemblywoman pointed to housing as an issue.
“Everything is interconnected, if someone is not housed, they are probably not getting the services they need,” she said.