A man has been arrested on suspicion of kicking an elderly women in the head on a New York subway train, after being allegedly recognised in a viral video capturing the crime.
The viral clip was widely shared on Twitter. It showed an assault on the 78-year-old victim as she sat alone on a train at around 3am on March 10, police said.
Authorities have since arrested restaurant worker Marc Gomez, who’s set to be charged with felony assault after the Bronx incident.
But the suspect, of Yonkers, denies he kicked the woman while simultaneously claiming the retired teacher came at him with a knife.
Gomez’s court-appointed lawyer said during an early Sunday Bronx Criminal Court arraignment:
She was homeless and lying across the seat and wanted all other passengers to move. She said, at that point, ‘I have a knife and I’m going to stab you’.
The lawyer, Steven Mechanic, also claimed she flashed ‘a sharp implement’.
The footage of the alleged assault went viral with observers commenting on both the brutality of the attack and the way those present filmed on smartphones rather than stepping in to help diffuse the situation.
The victim was left needing hospital treatment and ‘is getting care, advocacy and support’, New York Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tweeted in a post announcing the arrest of Gomez.
He thanked the global online community in the tweet:
The subject wanted for the brutal subway attack of an elderly woman IS IN CUSTODY. The victim was treated & released from the hospital & is getting the care, advocacy & support needed. Thank you to the worldwide community for the tremendous assistance. Add’l details to follow. pic.twitter.com/W4rFRDeuq2
— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) March 23, 2019
The assault was filmed by onlookers, who stood by as the assailant delivered at least three kicks to the woman’s body; two to her head and one to her chest.
Prosecutor Theresa Genthe said:
The defendant was recorded on video kicking a 78-year-old woman on a subway in The Bronx.
The defendant viciously kicked her six times, while wearing boots, about the head and face.
He could be heard telling the camera holders to ‘Worldstar that’, a reference to the online viral video purveyor famous for brawls.
Some members of the public called for the man in the video to be named:
He’s crazy that’s somebody grandmother. Rt and find this asshole pic.twitter.com/p7rkNtMrUo
— Rello. (@BKLYNRELL1) March 21, 2019
Meanwhile, the victim’s former Bronx neighbors told The New York Post she is a childless, retired kindergarten teacher.
On woman said:
She was just mentally ill. She wasn’t paying rent. She threatened at least three co-opers with a knife… She used to call the fire department, cops all the time.
Gomez, 36, was charged with felony assault and held in lieu of $30,000 bail after prosecutors said he has a misdemeanor conviction and an open gun possession charge.
— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) March 24, 2019
Gomez had been free without bail since November, when he was stopped on the Cross Bronx Expressway by cops who found a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun plus ammo in his car, according to law-enforcement sources.
Gomez also has old, sealed arrests for assault and possession of a gun and marijuana, sources said.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.