‘Chilling impact’: NYC subway shooting suspect arrested as transit safety concerns mount

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Police on Tuesday arrested a man wanted in connection with a fatal shooting inside a New York subway car, the latest attack to spark worries over the safety of the city’s trains.

Andrew Abdullah, 25, was taken into custody but has not yet been charged, John Grimpel of the NYPD’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information confirmed to USA TODAY.

Authorities had been hunting for the gunman since the shooting inside the Manhattan-bound Q train on Sunday, which left one man dead in what police said was an attack “without provocation.”

Video from NBC New York showed Abdullah being taken into the Fifth Precinct in handcuffs Tuesday afternoon.

Police had tweeted a photo of a man they said was wanted in connection with the shooting.

“Do you know where Andrew Abdullah is? He’s wanted for shooting a fellow New Yorker in the chest on Sunday, May 22nd, causing the victim’s death, while on a ‘Q’ train in Manhattan,” the New York City Police Department tweeted Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell shared surveillance photos Monday of a man tied to the shooting, saying, “We need all eyes on this.” 

The shooting comes as Mayor Eric Adams has sought to balance encouraging riders back into a system still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and promising safety after other violent attacks on the trains, including a mass shooting last month on a Brooklyn subway car.

“When you have an incident like this, it sends a chilling impact. There’s no getting around that,” Adams said Monday.

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Crime in the New York transit system is up 62.5% this year, according to the latest statistics from the NYPD, but is on par with crime levels from years before the pandemic. Last year saw a sharp dip in transit crime by this time.

Before Sunday’s shooting, there had been at least three murders in the transit system this year, compared with four at this time last year. The number of grand larcenies, felony assaults and robberies is up, according to police statistics.

Ridership, however, remains around 60% of its pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority: 3 million to 3.6 million riders on a given weekday.

On Monday, Adams repeated his overture for riders to return to the subway: “The call is to come back to work. And the subway system being safe is a major driver to doing that.”

No police officer was in the subway car when the gunman opened fire Sunday, Adams said. In February, Adams released a safety plan that aimed to surge more officers into the subway system and connect homeless riders with city services. The plan came a month after the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, who was shoved onto the tracks at the Times Square station.

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After the mass subway shooting in April in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park, Adams vowed to look into new technologies that could detect firearms and be placed at the entrances of subway stations. He said Monday that the city was still considering the technologies and that he wanted mobile units that could be moved between stations. The technology is different from a metal detector but could identify a firearm, Adams said.

The shooting Sunday killed Daniel Enriquez, 48, of Brooklyn, police said. Enriquez had largely avoided the subway at the height of the pandemic and recently because of safety concerns, preferring Uber rides to get to Manhattan from his home in Park Slope, his partner, Adam Pollack, told The New York Times.

NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said at a news conference Sunday that Enriquez and the gunman were in the last train car traveling on the Manhattan Bridge when the shooting occurred. Witnesses told police the gunman was pacing before firing one shot at Enriquez and striking him in the chest, Corey said.

The train pulled into the Canal Street station and the gunman fled, Corey said. The transit workers union said a train operator began chest compressions before police and EMS arrived. Enriquez was taken to a hospital, where he died, Corey said.

David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, where Enriquez worked, said in a statement that Enriquez was a dedicated and beloved employee who “epitomized our culture of collaboration and excellence.”

Contributing: The Associated Press