An attacker yelled “you motherf***ing Asian” at a 68-year-old man before punching him in the face on a New York City subway train, according to witness who spoke to the New York Daily News.
What are the details?
The victim was minding his own business when the attacker boarded the Tribeca train about 2:40 p.m. Friday, the paper said, citing sources.
Witness George Okrepkie told the Daily News the attacker yelled “you motherf***ing Asian” at the victim. The attacker threw what appeared to be a balled-up newspaper before punching the man, Okrepkie added to the paper. The Daily News said the 6-foot, 2-inch attacker’s punch left the victim covered in blood that dripped down his jacket.
“I was in a state of shock,” Okrepkie, the 55-year-old CEO of AX Trading, who was sitting across from the victim, told the paper. “It’s an incredibly disgusting attack on an Asian American.”
George OkrepkieImage source: WNBC-TV video screenshot
Okrepie added to the Daily News that he “tried to go after the assailant, but he took off,” after which he “went back to the elderly gentleman, took off my scarf and wrapped it around him, waiting for the EMT and NYPD to show up.”
Medics rushed the victim to a hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition, police told the paper.
“I took photos of the incident to show that crimes keep happening in NYC subways week after week,” Okrepkie added to the Daily News. “I just had lunch with a friend of mine who is Asian American, and it’s brutal to see the rise in crimes against Asian Americans.”
Family members of victim Narayange Bodhi told WNBC-TV that the Sri Lanka native suffered facial bruises and had no memory of the attack.
Surveillance cameras captured images of the alleged attacker walking through the subway station looking at his cellphone:
WANTED for AN Assault inside of the Franklin and Varick Street Subway Station . #manhattan@NYPD1pct@NYPDTD2 on 3/19/21 @ 2:40 PM. The suspect punched a 68 year old male in the head causing multiple injuries. Reward up to $2500 Seen him ? Know who he is? Call 1-800-577-TIPS pic.twitter.com/1ccIm3xmS2
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) March 21, 2021
Police found 36-year-old Marc Mathieu, a Bronx resident, as he rode a Manhattan-bound Staten Island Ferry and arrested him on assault charges Sunday, the paper said, adding that police said he wasn’t immediately charged with a hate crime, although the investigation was continuing.
Okrepkie also spoke to WNBC, noting that he’s “a 9/11 survivor, I’ve got stage-4 cancer because of my exposure to toxic dust at 9/11, I’ve been riding the subways for 30 years — I’ve never seen anything like [the attack.] I felt safer on 9/11 than I did at that moment.”
The Daily News said this latest attack comes as subway violence has increased despite a roughly 75% drop in ridership since the pandemic — and all while crimes and attacks against Asian Americans have increased.