A 48-year-old man was shoved in front of an oncoming Queens subway train and killed during Monday night’s rush hour after he accidentally bumped into another rider, cops and police sources said.
The senseless crime occurred after the pusher’s cellphone dropped onto the tracks when he was bumped into at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue 74th Street station just before 4:45 p.m., according to cops and the sources.
The 50-year-old man who was bumped yelled at the other man to retrieve his phone from the tracks, sources said. The rider refused and the pair got into a scuffle.
The man who lost his phone then pushed the victim, identified as Heriberto Quintana, down to the tracks — in front of an oncoming Jamaica-bound F train, according to sources and police.
“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 said. “You could hear them yelling on the mezzanine level. Then I heard screams and ran down to the platform.”
He said the men were shouting and cursing in Spanish.
The MTA worker, who asked not to be identified, said the victim was alive in the immediate aftermath.
“He was alive when I saw him, breathing and everything.”
Quintana was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Fellow subway riders who witnessed the horrific incident tried to hold down the suspect, but he escaped and fled on another train, according to the MTA worker.
Police were able to apprehend the suspect and take him into custody. He had not been charged with any crimes as of Monday night.
The fatal shove would be the ninth homicide in the city’s subway system this year — breaking 2021’s 25-year high of eight murders within the system.
“It’s sad this is the new normal,” said the station cleaner, who has worked for the MTA for 15 years. “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.”
He said he worries about working within the transit system given the increase in violence.
“I wouldn’t say I’m scared but I’m concerned,” the station cleaner said. “I’m concerned about my own safety as an MTA employee.”
Riders said they’re fearful.
“I’m scared to ride the subway right now,” said Charlton D’souza, Queens Village resident and president of the transit advocacy group Passengers United.
D’souza, 45, said he has personally been assaulted on the subway three separate times.
“No one should be dying on the subway, period,” he said. “This could have been anyone.”
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