Police are asking the public for help identifying the suspect caught on video beating a 57-year-old woman over the head with what appeared to be a hammer before taking off with her purse, NYPD officials said Friday.
Cops said the woman was heading home from her job as a health worker around 11 p.m. Thursday night when the suspect, a 6-foot-tall male wearing a dark jacket, blue jeans and brandishing a cane, followed her down the steps leading to the Queens Plaza E, M and R train station. That was where he kicked her, grabbed her purse and struck her several times over the head with what appeared to be a hammer, police said.
The perp struck her multiple times while the victim tried to defend herself, and he subsequently fled on foot with her purse, the NYPD said. Surveillance footage showed the man walking near Queens Boulevard and Jackson Avenue.
The victim was taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center with a fractured skull, lacerations to the face and bleeding from the brain and listed in critical condition, police said.
"This is definitely a priority station for us," said Chief of Transit James Wilcox at a news conference Friday afternoon. "We're working very hard to maximize the presence of our officers in the system so people see us, people feel safer. That's what we're doing."
In a statement Friday afternoon, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards called the attack "chilling and sadistic beyond words."
“No one should feel unsafe in their community or feel like a target in their local subway station," Donovan said in a statement. "In the wake of this savage assault, the NYPD must increase its presence at the Queens Plaza stop and the surrounding subway stations in the immediate area to give Western Queens residents the peace of mind they deserve as they move in and out of the transit system.”
Cops asked that anyone with information on the suspect contact 1-800-577-TIPS.