A 31-year-old Bronx woman has been charged with murder as a hate crime for pushing a man in front of an oncoming No. 7 train at a Queens subway station Thursday evening, prosecutors said.
According to the Queens district attorney's office, Erika Menendez confessed to the crime, saying she pushed 46-year-old Sundando Sen onto the tracks because she has hated Hindus and Muslims since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
“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," said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. "The hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions can never be tolerated by a civilized society.”
Menendez was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime Saturday. She was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court.
Authorities said Menendez was seen walking back and forth on the platform of the 40th Street station and talking to herself before sitting down, alone, on a wooden bench near the north end of the walkway. When the train pulled into the station shortly after 8 p.m., she allegedly got up off the bench and pushed Sen.
The suspect then fled the platform, running down a flight of stairs to the turnstile area and down a second flight to Queens Boulevard, witnesses said.
Police said Menendez was taken into custody Saturday in Brooklyn after a passerby recognized her from a surveillance video that captured her leaving the station. Menendez was later identified by witnesses in a lineup.
According to prosecutors, Menendez told detectives, “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.”
Sen, a native of Calcutta, had been in the country for more than 20 years and was part owner of New Amsterdam Printing on Amsterdam Avenue, according to his three roommates. Sen had opened the business six months ago and worked seven days a week, commuting by subway daily, his friends and roommates said.
Naeem Davis, a 30-year-old deli worker, was recently arrested and charged with second-degree murder for allegedly pushing Ki-Suk Han, 58, off a midtown subway platform to his death on Dec. 3. Han was struck by a southbound Q train at the 49th Street station in Manhattan.