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Brave Bystanders Stop Subway Hatchet Attack

A man menaced his fellow subway passengers as their 1 train pulled into the 66th Street Station Saturday night.
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A man menaced his fellow subway passengers as their 1 train pulled into the 66th Street Station Saturday night. Wally Gobetz's Flickr

A disturbed man menaced 1 train passengers with a hatchet on Saturday night, allegedly lunging at one rider before two bystanders tackled him to the floor of the train. Police say the would-be assailant, who was the only one injured, brought was carrying numerous weapons in addition to the hatchet.

The incident occurred around 10:40 p.m. on Saturday night, on a northbound 1 train. Witnesses saw a seated man pull a hatchet from a plastic bag—which, a police spokesperson said, also contained an axe, a knife, two batons, and chemical mace—as the train approached the 66th Street and Broadway Station. The hatchet-wielder got into an argument with another rider, and as their dispute escalated (the assailant springing at his opponent, hatchet in hand, according to the NY Daily News), two straphangers intervened, restraining the man and disarming him.

Police said the suspect, who has since been identified as 46-year-old Reinaldo Reyes, seems to have hit his head on a handrail as he went down, and had to be taken to Mount Sinai Hospital West for treatment. Police arrested him there, charging Reyes with assault, reckless endangerment, menacing, disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of a noxious matter (presumably the mace), and many counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

According to the Daily News, the axe may have had dried blood crusted on its blade, although police could not confirm that detail to Gothamist. Had it not been for the good Samaritans' intervention, passenger Sarah MacDonnell told WABC that Reyes "would've taken a swing at all of us."

Anthony Castro, another witness, told WABC that bystander intervention "basically saved [him]" from what could have been a very serious attack.

According to the NYPD, Reyes had 15 prior arrests. He has reportedly been living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, and is currently being held without bail following his arraignment on Sunday.

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