Is there anything more horrifying than being locked on the subway with a knife-toting murderer? About two dozen commuters found themselves in that hellish situation early on Saturday, when they were locked on in the first car of an uptown D train with suspect Gerardo Sanchez, who according to witnesses had just stabbed a passenger to death in an argument over a seat.
While police celebrated the train crew for keeping the doors locked for several minutes until police arrived, the Daily News spoke with a handful of commuters who felt that the decision put innocent bystanders at risk. "[They] gambled with a lot of lives," said Richard Kaye, 45, of Morrisania. "God forbid he had stabbed four more people." But at least one brave straphanger, Leo Genn, 52, of Chelsea, said the decision might prevent similar attacks. "It shows people in the future that if you commit a crime on the train, you're going to get caught," he said. "My instinct is they did the right thing."
Meanwhile, the Post examines whether or not passengers who witnessed the attack made a mistake when they pulled the emergency cord, bringing the train to a screeching halt in the tunnel between the Rockefeller Center and Seventh Avenue stations. MTA Transit spokesman Charles Seaton told the paper that commuters should never pull the cord when the train is between stations. When contacted by Gothamist to further explain the agency's position, Seaton said:
"Use the emergency cord only to prevent an accident or injury. For example, if someone gets caught between closing subway car doors and is being dragged, pull the cord. But if your train is between stations and someone aboard becomes ill, do not pull the emergency cord. The train will stop, preventing medical professionals from reaching the sick passenger. A sick person is better off if the train goes to the nearest station where police and medical services will be waiting or can be quickly summoned, without interruption."