Updated: Emotionally Disturbed Man Electrocuted in West 110th Street Subway Station Following Fight on the Tracks, Police Say

By Carol Tannenhauser

A naked “emotionally disturbed” man shoved someone onto the trackbed at the West 110th Street Central Park North subway station on Saturday in what police say was an unprovoked attack.

The incident occurred at 4:45 p.m., according to an NYPD spokesperson. A passerby jumped down into the trackbed to assist the victim, whereupon the emotionally disturbed man jumped down too, and began fighting with the passerby. During the fight, the emotionally disturbed man came in contact with the third rail, and is now deceased. “EMS pronounced him [dead], one other person was transported to Mt. Sinai West, and one was treated at the scene,” the FDNY said.

In the wake of the tragedy, 2 and 3 train service was suspended in both directions between the West 96th Street station in Manhattan and the East 180th Street station in The Bronx, the MTA reported.

We will update if more details are released.

Update: On Monday, the Daily News posted an interview with the “passerby.” The link is here.

The New York Post spoke to the mother of the deceased man. The link is here.

Photo via wikimedia.

NEWS | 38 comments | permalink
    1. good humor says:

      is this becoming vastly more common than say pre 2020?

      • B.B. says:

        More like post covid-19 I’d say.

        Despite billions being spent by city to house homeless in hotels and other efforts the subways are still full of them.

        If they’re not riding inside cars they’re in stations or on platforms. Ridership is still quite low with much of system still seemingly empty. As such many homeless have simply settled in and made the system their home. Have ridden subways since last March and really don’t see that huge of a LE presence.

      • Aj pwn says:

        Definitely

    2. Frank Grimes says:

      Does anyone remember a few months back, when those Fortune 500 companies wrote a letter saying they wont send employees back to their offices until the subway and other quality of life issues are addressed by our politicians? Hows that goin???

      • B.B. says:

        Since much of Manhattan at least emptied out last spring, homeless are basically everywhere, you can’t get away from them.

        Subways, indoor atm areas, building doorways,etc.. In latest twist many have set up house either overnight or permanently in those sidewalk “cafe” enclosures. Where ever there are awnings or scaffolding you generally find homeless camped out underneath.

        Again city is supposedly spending billions on homeless services. I for one don’t see that much of an improvement.

        • G.locke says:

          The ones with the most serious problems do not check into city shelters or get denied service for 30 days or longer for disruptive behavior. They also get others kicked out if they manage to provoke them into fights. Police are not going to pick them up from the streets unless they witness crimes.

      • DJT says:

        How many F500 companies are forcing their employees to go back? Most of them are doing work from home indefinitely. There is an option to go to the office but you’re not obligated.

      • Leon says:

        There is a homeless residence (so I guess they are no longer homeless?) in front of where Artie’s was at 83 and Broadway. It blocks almost half the sidewalk, which is even more problematic since scaffolding is up there.

        I feel bad for homeless people and do what I can to help. But this is not acceptable. If my building left random items on the sidewalk for days we would be fined. Quality of life laws matter. Get the homeless Covid shots and get them into shelters. And spend the money on shelters wisely and efficiently.

        • G.locke says:

          Covid shot or not, you cannot force them to check into shelters. It is voluntary.
          Some might get kicked out or get others kicked out if they do not obey the rules and if their behavior is disruptive. Shelters can also be dangerous. Allegedly there are some who tend to use and fight, steal too.

    3. LivableCity says:

      Such a sad story. Hope victim 1 is not seriously harmed. Well done passerby but how awful. RIP to a neighbor in a bad way.

      Thou art the thing itself:
      unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
      forked animal as thou art. …
      — Shakespeare, King Lear

      (Take physic, pomp: expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, that thou mayest shake the superflux to them, and show the heavens more just!)

    4. Sarah says:

      This is such a sad story. People deserve to be safe in the subway, but let’s remember that the dead person was someone’s child. If you saw any of the footage of the platform events, you know that he died in terror and pain because of a severe untreated illness. We dump the mentally ill on the streets (or cycle them through the jails) and then we blame them for the predictable consequences.

      • Luisa says:

        The correct take.

      • Lady Di says:

        so heartbreaking all around. until law makers change how our system handles those who are mentally ill – even if he or she doesn’t realize it – this will continue. we need to insist that those we have voted for make this a priority. it is not the MTA’s responsibility nor the untrained members of the NYPD but a truly responsive Department of Homeless Services.

        • Lisa says:

          And to be “truly responsive” the DHS would need the power to involuntarily commit mentally ill people for enough time to help them (not 72 hours). They would also need a place to commit them to – ie, a properly staffed mental hospital.

          Homelessness is just a symptom. Mental illness and addiction are the problems. There are many people who may never be able to manage their lives and we cannot let them destroy themselves.

      • Brenda says:

        Put the blame where it belongs on, Cuomo is the one who closed down the majority of mental inst when he became gov..Stop praising this dictator and start putting the blame on him for a lot that has happened in this city pre and post covid and dont forget the mayor whose name doesnt even deserve to be mentioned.

      • Lisa says:

        Can we please open a mental hospital outside of the city and send all these people there? It’s time. We cannot allow crazy people to decide they don’t need help. They are not capable of making that decision.

      • GetReal says:

        Would you be saying this if you or a loved one were the victim?

        • Lisa says:

          Of course I would. I don’t want me or my loved ones to end up like this guy on the tracks.

        • Sarah says:

          Yes, I would. I’m an adult whose sense of justice and compassion doesn’t depend on whether I’m personally affected. (I’m an atheist, but I’m pretty sure people professing to be Christians or Jewish are under divine commandment on this point.) When people assume that one can only feel compassion if one is insulated from reality, they only reveal how ugly and impoverished their own souls are.

      • B.B. says:

        Malik Jackson (the deceased) was not “homeless”, he lived at Cambridge Hotel at 110th and Central Park North.

        Given his mental illness diagnoses one presumes like many others Mr. Jackson was “placed” in this SRO type residence hotel, or maybe he found accommodations on his own.

        https://www.yelp.com/biz/cambridge-hotel-new-york

        Cambridge Residence Hotel began its life as an upscale residential hotel for “colored” persons back in the day. It was one of the finest at that time, but explains why (again) it has become a de facto homeless shelter. West side of Manhattan from Chelsea to Harlem was once full of SRO/residence hotels.

        https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:kp78gm95g

    5. UWSer says:

      Comments on this blog that regard homeless people as less than human (e.g. “they’re everywhere, you can’t get away from them”) are really frightening to me. Who are the people saying these things? Are you really my neighbors? How could this be?

      • MCT says:

        yes…he was someone’s child who tried to kill someone else’s child by shoving him on to the tracks.

        • Sarah says:

          Is there only so much humanity to go around? My heart goes out to the people he attacked, who must have been extremely traumatized. That doesn’t require me to dehumanize a very sick person who obviously wasn’t getting the help he needed.

      • Leon says:

        Please stop being so self-righteous. Many (but far from all) homeless people have mental health issues. We want them to receive health. They are a danger to themselves and to innocent citizens.

        What would your preferred way of dealing with them be? Just let them waste their lives away on the streets so as not to risk offending them and violating their civil rights? Or take them somewhere where they can be helped and at the same time not intentionally or unintentionally hurt people.

      • lynn says:

        Pointing out what’s happening right in front of us doesn’t equate to not caring about the homeless situation. On the corner of 72nd and B’way there’s a block-long line for TJ’s, as there has been for nearly a year. On the corner next to the food cart a man and woman literally ‘live’ in a pile of garbage, along with their two dogs, and everyone on that line behaves like they’re invisible. There are blankets COVERED with open containers of food and pigeons are eating out of them. Why are we allowing people to live this way?!

    6. Lynn says:

      Why can’t NYC do what Paris and other European cities have done; i.e.put up barriers along the platforms that don’t open until the trains come in, and only at the open doors?

    7. js says:

      So horrible.
      It is a miracle the 2 people attacked by the man were not killed themselves.

      Concerning that The NY Times has not reported on this story.

    8. Julian says:

      I was waiting at 96th to take the train there, and was pretty pissed at the service being suspended. I guess it actually was a legitimate emergency this time.

    9. wsr rdr says:

      I read the i interview w/deceased’s mother. She said his mental health team has been MIA since the pandemic began & he was not being monitored/treated. He was off his meds. It seems the city/state is allowing the personnel that works directly w/mentally ill homeless to wfh & just stuffing as many homeless in hotels just to get them off the streets/subway & shelters. They haven’t received the mental health support they need in nearly a yr. This is inhumane, dangerous & waste of tax $$.

    10. Adam says:

      Not fully on the topic of the incident on the subway, but a part of it to show the craziness here on the UWS. Last night around 8pm & walked down 79th street between Amsterdam & Broadway as a man stormed out of the Lucern SCREAMING and cursing and throwing things while storming towards Broadway as a security guard from the hotel tailed behind him from a distance. I got nervous & crossed to the other side of the street. As I walked back maybe 30 minutes later from Broadway towards Amsterdam on 79th street (on the opposite side from the hotel) I walked past a man with no mask, carrying a large garbage bag who came right up to my face asking for money. I ignored him & then listened to him curse me out as I quickly walked by till I could hear him no more. This is my neighborhood, my street, and now even before 9pm it’s scary to even walk down it.

    11. LYJ says:

      Hope the new elected mayor to replace the current colossal fiasco deblasio will restore safety to our streets and will put all these emotionally disturbed in a mental intuitions until such time a committee of qualified psychiatrists declares they do no present a danger the public.

    12. B.B says:

      Each time something like this happens on UWS (and sadly it is too often), same responses are posted to report on WSR; “why aren’t these people committed to mental hospitals….”

      Again here is my standard response….

      Since 1960’s due to various federal and state laws and or in response to lawsuits the mentally ill now have “rights”. Or rather more to the point they are not deprived of same that anyone else in USA has just because they are “ill”. Involuntary commitment was very badly abused in the past, and as such rarely happens today.

      Hospitals and staff physicians are extremely reluctant to sign off on a “two P.C” which allows involuntary commitment for up to 60 days. Courts are equally reluctant to order any further involuntary commitment (past 60 days).

      Why? Because the shadow of terrible abuses of involuntary commitment frightens. Doctors, hospitals, judges, etc… are all afraid once a mentally ill person is “sane”, again, he/she and or family/supporters will commence legal action against anyone or anything involved in depriving said person of their “rights”.

      https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/patientrights/inpatient_rts.htm

    13. B.B. says:

      Ironically (if not sadly) prisons and jails have become the new mental hospitals in United States.

      It is only after mentally ill commit serious crimes (and or while they await trail) that while in custody (or incarcerated) they receive proper health care (as mandated by federal and state laws).