Everyone's nightmare while riding the train: A 23 year-old aspiring actress was shot while riding the W train in Midtown yesterday afternoon. The victim, Monica Meadows, and witnesses report that a man just stood up and fired a shot with his gun, hitting her in the shoulder. The train was pulling into the West 42nd Street Times Square station, when Meadows realized she had been shot and "stumbled out of the train and up the stairs -- a trail of blood behind her" when she made it to a token booth at West 40th and Broadway. Passers-by called 911 and she was taken to Bellevue. Meadows also gave her cellphone to someone to call her boyfriend to let him know what was going on (the Post reports the woman as saying, "I have unfortunate news: Your girlfriend has been shot. She seems to be doing fine."). Meadows is in stable condition.

Meadows told the police that the attack was unprovoked, but they are still investigating the incident. The suspect, who is white, around 30 years old, medium build (around 5'8"), with shoulder-length, wavy blond hair, simply ran into another train car after the shooting. The Times notes that witnesses described the suspect to the police "as having a 'scruffy' or 'grunge' look about him." Anyone with more information should call 1-800-577-TIPS (1-800-577-8477).

The Daily News spoke with Meadows' father who flew in with her mother from Colorado. Meadows had moved to NYC to work in theater (Meadows had done a bit part on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as well as local theater), and her father mentions he was "concerned" when she moved to NYC: "But you don't expect to get the telephone call saying, 'It's Bellevue and there's an emergency." [Another interesting fact: A fellow passenger was Judge Glenda Hatchett who offered them a ride from the airport.]

There have been other incidents of shootings or stabbings, but usually it's in the context of a robbery or an argument. And the subways are generally emptier, either late at night or in the middle of the day. Gothamist is glad Meadows is expected to do well, but we wonder if this would have happened during rush hour and hope the shooter is found soon.