Police Hunt Man Who Allegedly Pushed Straphanger Into Q Train's Path
MIDTOWN — The search for an emotionally disturbed suspect who cops believe killed a man by shoving him into the path of an oncoming Q train at the 49th Street subway station continued Tuesday, police said.
The unidentified man — who cops described as having dreadlocks, a black beard and was last seen wearing a dark jacket, a gray T-shirt and a cap — pushed Ki-Suck Han to his death after an argument, police said.
The suspect, a panhandler who according to the New York Post was harassing commuters Monday afternoon in the station at Seventh Avenue, crossed paths with Han on the platform just after 12:30 p.m., police said.
The suspect had been "talking to himself" before the incident and may have "picked a fight" with Han, according to NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne.
"At least one witness felt that the aggressor was emotionally disturbed," Browne, the department's chief spokesman, said.
In a cell phone video released by the NYPD Monday night, the men can be seen exchanging words on the platform.
"Leave me the f--- alone!" the suspect is heard telling Han on the video.
The beef quickly escalated and turned physical.
"He gets into an argument and is pushing and shoving," Browne said of the suspect.
Han was shoved and fell onto the tracks, Browne said.
"As he attempted to climb out of the well, he was struck by the train and got wedged between the platform and the train car," Browne added.
Witnesses said they saw a 5-to-10-foot trail of blood along the platform after the victim was unpinned.
Han was rushed to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where he died of his injuries, police said.
Neighbors near Han's Elmhurst home described him as "a nice man" who "kept to himself."
"It's quite distressing," said a woman who lived two doors from Han. "I ride the subway every day."
The train tragedy evoked memories of a 1999 incident in which Kendra Webdale, 32, was pushed by a schizophrenic man from the platform of the 23rd Avenue station in Manhattan into the path of an oncoming N train.
Webdale's death shocked the city and forced state lawmakers to allow judges new authority to force people with severe mental disabilities like schizophrenia to undergo psychiatric treatment.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story included police reports that the man was hit by an R train. Subsequent information revealed it was a Q train.