A union electrician from South Ozone Park has become a New York City subway hero after coming to the rescue of an elderly man who was shoved to the tracks in an unprovoked attack at an Upper East Side subway station early Tuesday morning.
Electrical foreman Pooran Mohabir, 33, a member of United Electrical Workers of America (UEWA) Local 363, was doing overnight construction modernization at the 68th Street-Hunter College station as a member of a five-man union crew from RMD Electric, a subcontractor of the MTA, when he heard a commotion emanating from the subway platform.
“I was on duty and on the mezzanine level when I heard shouting on the level below, ” Mohabir said. “I originally thought nothing of it until I went down to the platform to see for myself. I saw a man in need and no one else was nearby to help him. His head was only a foot away from the third rail, which I knew could be fatal.”
He discovered a 74-year-old grandfather who had been waiting for a 6 train just after midnight when an unhinged man who was reportedly shouting to himself pushed him from behind before landing directly on his back with his neck on the tracks. Mohabir sprang into action as the assailant rushed past him, fleeing the station on the stairway towards Lexington Avenue. Mohabir jumped down to the tracks and pulled the elderly man to safety and stayed with him until authorities arrived on the scene.
Initially, the victim’s injuries appeared minor — consisting of cuts and bruises — but NYPD Assistant Chief Joseph Kenny said the elderly man needed to be rushed by EMS to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center to be treated for multiple rib, pelvic and spinal fractures. The victim was stabilized and listed in stable condition.
Mohabir knew he had to help the elderly man as there were only a few people in the station at that hour and he was the only one to come to his aid.
“There wasn’t a second thought in my mind that I needed to help this man, and quickly before another train arrived,” said Mohabir, who became a Local 363 union electrician 13 years ago after high school, working his way up to becoming an electrical foreman.
Not one to rest on laurels, Mohabir said he was planning to head back to work at the station on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, detectives are reviewing video surveillance of the brutal encounter, and the suspect matches the description of a homeless man who has committed several assaults in the area in the past. The NYPD released surveillance video and photos of the unhinged man as he meandered along the platform.
“We are showing those photos to officers, we are going to catch this guy,” Chief Kenny said.
The alleged perpetrator is approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and 200 pounds, police said. He has a medium complexion. He has salt and pepper hair and a goatee and was last seen wearing a black polo shirt, brown pants and black sneakers.
A reward of up to $3,500 is being offered for information that leads to his arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
The 19th Precinct has tallied 131 assault cases so far in 2023, nine more than the 122 assaults reported at the same point last year, which is an increase of 7.4%, according to the NYPD’s latest CompStat report.