Performer instantly paralyzed after being pushed onto moving subway train, NY prosecutor says
A Turkish-born artist who moved to New York six years ago was instantly paralyzed from the neck down after a man allegedly pushed her into a moving subway train in what a prosecutor described on Wednesday as a “completely unprovoked” attack.
Kamal Semrade, 39, has been charged with attempted second-degree murder and other crimes in the alleged assault at an Upper East Side subway station in Manhattan on Sunday, according to a criminal complaint filed in criminal court of New York and obtained by NBC New York.
The 35-year-old victim suffered a fractured cervical spine, scalp laceration and other injuries after Semrade “grabbed her head with both hands and pushed her with all his might into the car moving subways,” Assistant District Attorney Carolyn McGuigan said Wednesday. during Semrade’s arraignment.
In a verified online fundraiser organized in part by her husband, the victim was identified as Emine Yilmaz Ozsoy.
She was instantly paralyzed and remains in critical condition with a high risk of death or stroke, McGuigan said.
The attack at the Lexington Avenue and East 63rd Street station happened at 6:05 a.m. and was caught on security camera and seen by witnesses, McGuigan said.
Ozsoy, the former main page designer of an Istanbul newspaper, moved to New York in 2017 and wanted to focus on her art, her husband said in a written statement released at the fundraiser. She was on her way to work at the time, he said.
She and Semrade were on the same train and got off in Manhattan, McGuigan said.
Semrade followed – and then pushed – her onto the train as it “quickly” left the station, McGuigan said.
“I just see him walking beside her, on her left side, and with his palms open, just pushing his head into the train as it moves,” witness Nancy Marrero told NBC New York. .
Her body fell “in a circle and she just fell on the platform,” Marrero told the station.
Semrade fled the station, McGuigan said. As Ozsoy lay on the subway platform, she said she couldn’t feel her arm and asked if she was going to die, Marrero said, according to NBC New York.
“I was like, ‘you’re not going to die, don’t worry, I’m here,'” Marrero told the station. “I will stay with you.”
Court records show the New York Police Department arrested Semrade on Tuesday.
In the statement, Ozsoy’s husband, Ferdi Ozsoy, thanked authorities and those who comforted his wife after the alleged assault. He said she underwent difficult surgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center and expects a “long journey of recovery” that will likely hamper the career she has established as an artist, painter and award-winning illustrator.
Ferdi Ozsoy described himself as his wife’s only family in the United States and said he was seeking emergency visas for relatives to help care for her.
“His life after this is going to require constant care,” he said.
A lawyer for Semrade, who was taken into custody during Wednesday’s hearing, did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Wednesday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com