The killing of a 48-year-old man, pushed in front of a subway train Monday in Queens, New York, further highlights the increasing violent crime rate in the nation's cities.
Police told the New York Post that Heriberto Quintana, 48, was pushed in front of a subway train at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue 74th Street Station just before 4:45 p.m. Monday after an altercation with another man over a cellphone that was knocked onto the tracks after Quintana "bumped" the other man.
"I heard a loud argument, an altercation. It was two Spanish guys — older, like in their 50s," an MTA station cleaner at the Jackson Heights station told the Post. "You could hear them yelling on the mezzanine level. Then I heard screams and ran down to the platform."
Sources told the publication that the other man, 50, demanded Quintana retrieve the phone from the tracks after he was bumped, but Quintana refused, which led to the altercation ending with Quintana being pushed in front of the Jamaica-bound F train.
Witnesses said Quintana was breathing after being hit by the train but was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The unidentified 50-year-old was able to escape passengers who tried to apprehend him before police arrived, but was later taken into custody, the report said.
Police told the Post that charges had not yet been filed as of Tuesday night.
"It's sad this is the new normal," a station cleaner, who has worked for the MTA for 15 years told the publication. "I've worked down here half my life. If it's not a subway surfer, it's a fight; if it's not a fight, it's a stabbing or a shooting."
While the number of homicides in major cities decreased from 2021, the number of violent crimes like robbery and aggravated assault jumped an average of 4.4% in most cities in the U.S. from Jan. 1 to June 30, according to a violent crime survey from the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
The survey, released Aug. 2, sampled 70 law enforcement agencies, comparing the collected data to the same time in 2021.
While the number of homicides nationwide decreased slightly from 4,624 in 2021 to 4,511 in 2022, the number of reported robberies jumped up by almost 7,000, from 53,212 in 2021 to 60,175 this year, and aggravated assaults increased from 152,760 in 2021 to 156,735 this year, according to the survey.
Rapes also dropped slightly from 16,371 in 2021 to 15,541 in 2022, the data showed.
The recent data, however, shows a continuing trend of violent crime increasing by 39% in 23 cities compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, Time reported in July.
"It is heartening to see the homicide numbers fall, even slightly, but American cities continue to lose too many of their residents to bloodshed," Time reported Richard Rosenfeld, a University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist who co-authored the Council on Criminal Justice's mid-year crime report for 2022, as saying in a press release at the time.
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