NYC Subway Horror: Man Killed In Seat Dispute


nyc-police-subwayImagine being locked in a train with a knife-wielding madman. The worst nightmare for some straphangers became a reality when they found themselves trapped on a D-train with a murder suspect. The response from the NYPD and the train’s operator is sparking a citywide debate about your safety.Straphangers were shocked to hear that some 30 fellow riders were stuck in a city subway car with a killer this weekend. Police say 37-year-old Gerardo Sanchez got on the train at Rockefeller Center, fought with rider Dwight Johnson over a subway seat, and then stabbed Johnson to death as riders watched.

Someone yanked this red emergency handle, and the train screeched to a stop.

“They pulled the emergency [brake]! You can’t get off! Nobody can get off, we’re on danger now,” said Bronx resident Yvonne Baker.

The doors were kept locked for five minutes until cops arrived. The train rolled to Columbus Circle where police stormed the subway car and arrested Sanchez. While straphangers fume, MTA Station Agent Mylinda Lee said the lock down was the right thing to do.

“You are supposed to keep those doors shut so that person can’t get through. That’s the procedure, that’s the policy. It’s more practical than to say he’s running that way and somebody tried to trip him up,” Lee said. “If he exits the train, he can go stab somebody else.”

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said he was pleased with how the situation was handled by officers.

“In terms of police response I think it was totally appropriate,” he said.

But Baker told CBS 2 otherwise.

“No, they didn’t do the right thing. They didn’t do the right thing,” she said. “You [should have] let everybody off.”

The MTA is warning straphangers to think before they pull the cord for the emergency brake. Rarely is it a good idea if you are between stations in a tunnel.’)

“Most of the answer is to leave it alone if you are between stations. You dont want to get stuck in the tunnel,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

Anyone on a train during a crime should get to opposite end of the train car and let the train keep going to the next station. Police say that is where help will come, so don’t yank the cord that hits the brakes.

{CBS 2 – NY/Noam Newscenter}


  1. 1) Did anyone try to intervene to stop the murder?

    2) Was there a way that the victim could have defended himself?

    3) What was the murderer doing during those 5 minutes of lock in — sitting calmly in his seat?

  2. For those who think the bystanders should have prevented this –

    A knife is a deadly weapon. Unless you are trained in self-defense/martial arts you don’t stand much of a chance against a knife (much less a gun.) Most commuters are not trained, and few are in good enough shape to fight anyway.

    The criminal could simply have killed the one interfering, and then gone back to his original victim. Don’t blame the bystanders in this case. One at least tried to do something by pulling the brake, even if it wasn’t the best thing to do.

  3. I live in NYC, and the story I heard was that the guy(supposedly homeless) that got stabbed was extremely rude to the guy; he would not move a bag so that the man could sit and then started taunting him. OF COURSE that does not mean he should have been stabbed, but people should always be respectful of those around them! Especially at 2am on the D train!!!