A woman sprayed seven people with an unknown chemical substance on Friday night in what police are investigating as a possible hate crime. The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime because victims were white and the assailant was black, police told us.
The woman had not been located as of Saturday morning.
[Update on Sunday: Police arrested a transgender woman for a similar attack in the Bronx and believe she may be connected to the Manhattan attacks too, CBS reported. The person arrested was “37-year-old Thomas Herd, who was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she is set to undergo a mental evaluation before facing charges.”]
She is described as black, 30-years-old, approximately 5’6″ tall, weighing 200 lbs., with a dark complexion. She was last seen wearing a light blue hooded winter jacket, grey pants, black leggings and white sneakers, police said.
The incidents reportedly occurred between 11:50 a.m. and 1 p.m. Six of the people were sprayed on 125th Street, either at the subway station at 125th and Lenox or on the street outside.
“She just walked up to me, literally walked up, maced me and kept walking,” victim Joshua Smith told News 4 New York. Victims told NBC they thought it was pepper spray.
The seventh person was sprayed on the platform at the 96th Street and Broadway station.
“At approximately 1258 hours, the individual sprayed a seventh victim, a 30-year-old female, in the face as she was waiting on the southbound ‘1’ train platform inside the 96 Street and Broadway subway station,” police said. The woman was taken by ambulance to Saint Luke’s Hospital for minor injuries, where she was treated and released.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.