The street cleaner who charged down into a midtown subway station yesterday to disarm a knife-wielding woman says he "feels good" about what he did, but doesn't see himself as a hero. Charles Williams, a participant in The Doe Fund's Ready Willing & Able program, says that when he saw panicked straphangers fleeing the subway at Lexington Avenue and 59th Street, he initially thought it was a terrorist attack. Then a passerby screamed that someone with a knife was stabbing people. So he went down to help.
"Everybody was going out,” Williams, who was picking up litter at the time, tells the Daily News. “Nobody was going in. I’m tired of senseless killings. I ran down.” The suspect, reportedly a homeless woman, was still brandishing her 4-inch kitchen knife on the uptown 6 train platform. Williams and another unidentified good Samaritan successfully subdued her until police arrived. "I’m not a hero," insists Williams. "This is my town. This is my city. I love New York."
The suspect in custody. (NY1)
The 10 a.m. stabbing on the uptown 6 train was, by all accounts, unprovoked. The victim, 39-year-old Heather Burke, has identified herself on Facebook, where she's told friends of her ordeal: "Got stabbed in the subway by a complete stranger in the abdomen and in my arm on my way to work today Had emergency abdominal surgery and am in the hospital for an yet to be determined amount of time what a day!"
And the fun doesn't stop there; Burke reports via Facebook, "Also have to go through hepatitis treatment protocol and aids treatment protocol since they don't know who she might have stabbed before me so that is just more great news." She also says, understandably, "And I certainly don't know if I will ever be ok with riding the subway again."
In an interview with the News from her hospital bed, Burke recalled, "I was looking down. I was checking my email. She didn’t run, she didn’t jump or say anything. She just started stabbing me." After stabbing Burke multiple times, the suspect punched a 19-year-old woman. Burke, who says she was pumping so much blood she thought she was going to die, made it to the entrance to Bloomingdale's, where employees administered first aid until EMS arrived.
Her alleged assailant, whom CBS 2 identifies as 31-year-old Ashley Jacob, was taken to Bellevue for evaluation.