NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An attacker is on the loose after a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee was assaulted at around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Times Square station.
The NYPD said the incident happened on the southbound platform on the 2 line, adding the worker was punched in the face by a stranger and then fled, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
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“Any attacks on MTA workers are unacceptable. We have a lot of police in the subways. They have proven that God forbid anyone commits an act of violence, they will be found, they will be prosecuted, they will suffer the consequences,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
About an hour and a half after that attack, a rider was slashed in the face inside the same transit hub, police said. That victim was hospitalized and, so far, no arrest has been made.
Treazer Maina, who works in Times Square as a sightseeing guide, said despite the adding of uniformed officers to the subway system, more measures are needed.
“The police should do something about the security. They should tighten their security a lot,” Maina said.
“We’re going to keep a strong presence in the subways. We’re going to do all the things we need to do to bring the city back,” de Blasio added.
Commissioner Dermot Shea said the NYPD understands the public’s concern.
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“So there are large amounts of officers on a daily basis, but there’s always more to do again, and if one New Yorker doesn’t feel safe because of any number of circumstances on the subway, we have to do more. So we got … we always have to do a better job,” Shea said.
Tourists from Ireland told Carlin they will keep themselves on alert, but they are not put off by the rise in New York City crime.
“Just be vigilant, take care of yourself,” Sarah Bennett said.
“Mind your business and get away from the situation and if you see something, kick it off,” Connor Scott added.
The mayor also said the more people come back to tourist spots and subways, the safer those areas will become.
Wednesday’s incident came in the shadow of a shooting in Times Square, and a series of subway crimes that have New Yorkers on edge.
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Check back soon for more on this developing story.