A 31-year-old Bronx woman has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in the death of a man shoved in front of a subway train, Queens prosecutors said Saturday.
District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the woman as Erika Menendez. She was arraigned late Saturday, where she was ordered held without bail and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
"(She) said in sum and substance '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,'" the prosecutor said in a statement.
The victim, Sunando Sen, grew up in a Hindu family, his roommate said.
Witnesses said a woman paced the platform and talked to herself Thursday evening shortly before pushing the man as the 11-car train entered the station. The 46-year-old man's body was pinned under the second car after it came to a stop.
The woman made "statements implicating herself in the death of Sunando Sen," Paul Browne, the New York Police Department's chief spokesman, said earlier. Security video showed a person running from the scene.
Menendez was identified Saturday afternoon in a lineup, Browne said. She was recognized earlier in the day on a street in Brooklyn by a passer-by who called 911, the police spokesman said. The caller said she resembled the woman in the video.
"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 Brown, the district attorney. "The victim was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself. 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."
It was not clear Saturday evening whether Menendez had obtained an attorney.
Sen, of Queens, owned a shop called New Amsterdam Copies and was a graphic designer for posters, said roommate Ar Suman.
In early December, Ki-Suck Han, 58, was shoved onto the tracks in a Times Square station as a train approached.
Naeem Davis, 30, a homeless man, has been charged with second-degree murder in that case.