NYC subway slashing suspect sought, 3 more charged after riders terrorized

Northeast

NEW YORK (WPIX) — Police charged three suspects, including a 16-year-old, early Saturday morning following a series of slashing attacks on the subway in Manhattan on Friday that left at least four people injured, according to the NYPD.

However, one suspect remained on the loose, police said. The NYPD released surveillance images of the suspect early Saturday morning.

The violent crime spree began Friday around 4:26 a.m. onboard a southbound No. 4 train at the Union Square subway station. Police said a group of people approached a 44-year-old man and one of the suspects slashed him on the left side of his face.

The victim ran off the train but the suspects stayed on, police said. 

Less than 10 minutes after the first assault, police said the same group attacked two men, ages 40 and 41, at the Astor Street station. The suspects punched both victims and the 40-year-old was slashed on the nose, according to police.

The victims got off the train, but again the suspects stayed on, according to the NYPD. 

Minutes later, near the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station, the suspects attacked a 44-year-old man, police said. One of the suspects slashed the victim on the left side of his face and the group took his cellphone and cash, according to investigators. 

One of the suspects then threw the victim’s cellphone onto the train tracks, police said.

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The victim got off the train, but the suspects remained onboard, according to investigators.

All four victims were taken to area hospitals in stable condition, police said.

The attacks sparked a day-long manhunt for the suspects while MTA brass and local officials renewed their calls for an increased police presence in the subway system. 

Around 11:20 p.m., officers patrolling a northbound No. 1 train near the 79th Street-Broadway station spotted four individuals who matched descriptions of the slashing suspects and took them into custody, according to the NYPD.

Three of the suspects were later charged and the fourth person was released from custody without charges, police said. 

Taquarious Soto-Burgos, 19, of Brooklyn, was charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Joseph Foster, 18, of the Bronx, was charged with robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.

An unidentified 16-year-old was charged with two counts of robbery, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Police did not identify the suspect because he is a minor.

The search for the fourth suspect continued Saturday, as the MTA prepared to resume overnight service on Monday for the first time in more than a year, further escalating safety concerns.

The city’s subway system has been long celebrated for its all-night service. But in an unprecedented move in May 2020, subway service was shut down nightly between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to allow transit workers and cleaning crews to disinfect trains and stations as COVID ravaged New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA leadership announced in February that around-the-clock subway service would be gradually restored as a second wave of COVID cases and hospitalizations began to ebb. The subway system currently shuts down each day from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

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Earlier in May, Cuomo announced 24/7 service would resume on Monday, May 17. While he vowed that the cleanliness of trains and stations would remain a priority after full service is restored, local officials and MTA leaders have raised concerns about the safety of the subway system as more workers return to their offices.

NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg has asked for an increased NYPD presence in the subway system for weeks.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Thursday that more than 600 extra officers have been deployed in the city, including overtime officers and auxiliary officers. He did not say the officers were deployed to the subway system.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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