Tag Archives: Erika Menendez

Queens subway pusher indicted, found fit to stand trial


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

subway pusher

The woman accused of shoving a 46-year-old man to his death at a Sunnyside subway platform last month has been indicted by a grand jury for second-degree murder as a hate crime and ruled mentally fit to stand trial, announced Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

At the time of her arrest, Erika Menendez, 31, allegedly told investigators that she pushed Corona resident Sunando Sen into the path of a No. 7 train at the 40th Street-Lowery Street station because she hates Hindus and Muslims and has been beating them up since 2001 when “they put down the twin towers.”

Witnesses said they saw Menendez muttering to herself before shoving Sen off the platform.

On Monday, the same day that she was indicted, it was also announced that, following a court-ordered psychiatric exam, Menendez had been deemed fit to stand trial.

Despite the ruling, Menendez’s lawyers are expected to argue that even though she is mentally fit enough to understand the charges against her, she wasn’t mentally sound when she committed the December 27 crime, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Menendez, who faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, is scheduled to return to court on January 29.


RECOMMENDED STORIES

Pols call for safety measures after second subway shove death


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hokachung

After a second New Yorker was pushed to his death in a subway station last month, a pair of local pols are calling for the MTA to take measures to ensure the safety of city straphangers.

Sunando Sen, 46, was killed Thursday, December 27 when he was shoved in front of an oncoming No. 7 train at the 40th Street/Lowery Street station in Sunnyside.

Police arrested and charged Erika Menendez, 31, of Rego Park, with murder as a hate crime after the suspect allegedly told investigators she pushed Sen because of her scorn for Muslims and Hindus.

“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,” she allegedly told detectives.

Menendez, who was seen at the station muttering to herself before shoving Sen, is reportedly undergoing psychiatric evaluation to determine if she is mentally stable.

“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 District Attorney Richard Brown. “Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions can never be tolerated by a civilized society.”

This marked the second incident in December that someone was pushed to their death in a subway station. Ki-Suk Han, 58, of Elmhurst, was killed on December 3 when he was pushed in front of a Q train at the 49th Street-Seventh Avenue station. Suspect Naeem Davis was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Aside from the two push deaths, 52 other straphangers were killed on subway tracks this year, whether by accident or suicide.

Among the safety steps State Senator Jose Peralta and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer proposed to prevent further fatalities were installing sliding doors, an intercom system that could connect riders with the Rail Control Center and more security cameras.

“It does strike me that in a post-9/11 world that there are no cameras at any stop,” Van Bramer said at a recent press conference.

The station where Sen was killed did not have any working cameras; Menendez was captured fleeing by nearby surveillance cameras.

“In less than a month, two of my constituents have been pushed onto subway tracks and killed,” Peralta said. “I urge the MTA to immediately act on common-sense measures to improve rider safety and security.”

Installing barriers between passengers and the train would “be both expensive and extremely challenging,” the MTA said in a statement. The agency did say though that they are considering testing such equipment “on a limited basis.”

— Additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 19F. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Resorts World New Year’s Eve Bash

Ring in 2013 at Resorts World Casino’s New Year’s Eve Bash from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., where there will be live music, champagne and giveaways. Click here for more info or check out more New Year’s Eve events in Queens

Driver charged with DWI in fatal Queens crash

The driver of a car that overturned into the marshy waters near John F. Kennedy International Airport early Sunday morning, killing a 25-year-old woman, has been arrested. Read more: NBC New York

2 charged with teen’s murder in Far Rockaway

Two suspects were charged Sunday in connection with a shooting this weekend that left a 17-year-old boy dead outside a low-income housing development in Far Rockaway. Read more: CBS New York

Psychiatric test ordered for subway shove suspect

A woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of a subway train told police she did so because she blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11 attacks, and because “I thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said at a court hearing. Read more: ABC New York/AP

President Obama’s determined to get a gun-control law in place early in his second term

President Obama called the Newtown school massacre “the worst day” of his presidency as he reiterated Sunday his determination to sign a gun-control bill into law early in his second term. Read more: New York Daily News

Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month. Read more: AP

Fiscal cliff: Biden, McConnell make major progress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden made major progress toward a year-end tax bill overnight. Read more: Politico