A series of subway slashings injured three men and another was punched, all within 12 minutes on the same train early Friday, police said.
Officers believe two suspects were involved in all of the apparently random attacks on a No. 4 train as it made local stops in downtown Manhattan. The four victims were taken to hospitals in stable condition.
The first attack happened around 4:25 a.m. on a train at the Union Square station. Police said the two suspects approached a 44-year-old man, and one slashed his face while the other encouraged it, and then both fled the subway car.
The pair similarly attacked a 40-year-old man around 4:30 a.m. at the Astor Place station, also leaving him slashed in the face. The attackers then punched another man, who may have tried to intervene, before fleeing the car.
About seven minutes later, the suspects approached a 44-year-old rider at the Brooklyn Bridge stop and slashed the back of his head.
The assaults happened amid growing concerns about crime on the city’s subways as ridership picks up from pandemic lows, though it’s still averaging about 40% below normal.
The city says it’s assigning 500 more police officers to tackle subway crime, but transit officials have been urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to do more. NYC Transit’s interim president, Sarah Feinberg, slammed the Democratic mayor in a statement Friday.
The assaults “seemingly could have been prevented by a uniformed presence on each of these [subway] platforms,” said Feinberg. “The responsibility for these vicious attacks does not fall on an already strapped police department – it falls on City Hall and the individuals who are taking advantage of the mayor’s negligence on the issue. If he needed a wake-up call, this is it. Enough is enough. The mayor is risking New York’s recovery every time he lets these incidents go by without meaningful action.”
De Blasio spokesman Bill Neidhardt accused the MTA of finger-pointing and urged it to “get with the program.”
“We’re going to keep putting massive resources into this fight to keep our subways safe,” he said in a statement.