CHELSEA, Manhattan — Police arrested a suspect who allegedly used a hammer to attack a man at a busy subway stop, officials said Wednesday.
The suspect’s distinctive appearance at the time of the attack may have led to his quick arrest. Still, though, the attack has sparked concern among some subway riders that the subway safety plan unveiled last month by the governor and mayor may not be living up to its promise.
Police arrested Christian Jeffers, 48, on charges of assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.
The NYPD released video of the suspect on Wednesday afternoon. Investigators said that the attacker allegedly hit a 29-year-old man in the head with a hammer after the man bumped into the suspect accidentally.
The suspect was wearing a pageboy haircut wig, and had bright pink or purple lipstick, and was sporting a jacket with the letter “B” prominently displayed on the front.
According to subway riders, however, the attack, which sent the victim to the hospital in stable condition, has left them feeling one way.
“Scared,” one straphanger told PIX11 News, “‘cuz it’s not safe.”
Another rider said that, depending on the time of day that she uses the subway, she can feel exposed to danger.
“If there’s a lot of people around, I generally feel safe,” she said. “If there’s nobody around, or an empty station, I feel not safe.”
She spoke with PIX11 News from a train platform in the station where the latest attack had taken place — at the 14th Street station, on the 1, 2, and 3 lines. The incident happened just after 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.
It came 18 days after Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams announced their subway safety plan. Since then, there ‘s been a variety of violent subway crimes reported, including a woman slashed at one of the busiest stations, Union Square, last Thursday; three days before that, another woman was attacked with human waste, at Wakefield station in the Bronx; and three days before that, there was another hammer attack, of a woman at Queens Plaza.
In the slashing case, the victim didn’t cooperate with police, while in the other two, officers have made arrests.
For his part, Mayor Adams said that the subway safety plan is helping homeless people who had been riding the system find homes, and that officers clear the trains at the end of every subway line.
Adams also said that encampment-type set ups on trains have been removed, an are being prevented.
Still, said the mayor, “to expect in two weeks that you’re gonna turn around a generational issue is just not realistic.”
“What I’m saying to New Yorkers,” he continued, “We are not going to have generational failures any more. I’m taking full responsibility for the subway system, because I’m a user of that subway system.”