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Woman burned by chemicals in Brooklyn subway attack


A 21-year-old woman was burned by an unknown chemical in an attack at a Brooklyn subway station early Friday, police said.

The victim was standing on a southbound platform at Winthrop Street station on lines 2 and 5 when a woman began a verbal argument with her, police said. The attacker followed her up an internal staircase at the train station and splashed the chemical on her face before fleeing.

The victim suffered burns to the left side of his face and was taken to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, which operates a specialist burn center. She was in critical but stable condition, police said. Jacobi officials did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.

The New York Police Department is asking for help in identifying the suspect in the subway attack.Credit…MTA/NYPD Crime Stoppers

Police released photos and a video of the suspect on Friday, but she remained unidentified. She appeared to be in her twenties and was last seen wearing a black jacket with a fur-lined hood, as well as black pants covered in white designs, police said.

The station is one block from Kings County Hospital Center; the media reported that the victim worked there, but the hospital did not confirm this.

Subway safety has been a major concern after a series of violent incidents this year, and ridership continues to be well below pre-pandemic levels. Crime in the transit system is up more than 33% from a year ago, although it has fallen in recent weeks.

Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul announced an increase in the number of police at subway stations on October 22, along with other measures such as private security guards and cameras. They also pledged to increase resources for people suffering from mental health crises.

At the time, the mayor pointed out that many of the worst crimes on the subway were committed by people with known mental health issues. On Tuesday, Mr. Adams announced that the city would go further and involuntarily hospitalize people with severe, untreated mental illness who are on the streets or on the subway.

Kayla Shults, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said in a statement Friday that the agency was assisting with the police investigation “in every way possible.”

“This abuser needs to be brought to justice and, if necessary, given serious mental health treatment,” she said.

Also on Friday, the police department announced a new acting transit chief. Deputy Chief Michael M. Kemper, who was in charge of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, will fill the position. Outgoing leader Jason Wilcox was among several senior officials stepping down as the department prepares for the year ahead.

Kaya Laterman contributed report.

nytimes Gt

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