Michelle Alyssa Go was identified as the New York woman who was pushed to her death in a subway. Police are accusing a man named Simon Martial, who has a criminal history, of pushing Go.
Roxanne John, a subway rider, told The New York Daily News: “It could’ve been me, it could’ve been anyone, I feel frightened. The only time I feel safe on the train is when I see the cops. … I feel scared now.”
Go was Asian, but her January 15, 2022, death is not being treated as a hate crime, according to The New York Times, which reported that “hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers have risen sharply during the pandemic,” but “police said there was no indication that she had been targeted because of her ethnicity.” Authorities say Martial was only in the subway station for nine minutes before pushing Go.
U.S. Representative Grace Meng, who represents Queens, said in a news conference, “Too often Asian Americans are seen as foreigners and people who are not truly American, and so we want to make sure we are standing as a city against all discrimination.” She named three other incidents of violent crime against Asian American New Yorkers that occurred in “the last few weeks,” including attacks on a Sikh American cab driver, a Korean American man “trying to be a good Samaritan” and an elderly Korean American woman.
Go’s death was one in a string of random attacks against women in the United States in recent days. Brianna Kupfer, 24, was randomly stabbed to death while working in a store in the Los Angeles area on January 13. Nurse Sandra Shells died after a transient man attacked her randomly while she waited for a bus in Los Angeles on January 15.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Go Was ‘Pushed’ on the Train Tracks Without Any Provocation, Officials Said
New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in the news conference that, at approximately 9:30 a.m., uniformed officers at the 42nd Street-Times Square train station were told by passengers that “a male had just pushed a woman onto … the train tracks.”
They discovered Go under the train “with severe trauma to her body,” and she was pronounced dead at the scene, Sewell said.
The victim was standing on a subway platform “when she was suddenly pushed onto the train tracks” in front of an oncoming train, Sewell said.
“This was a senseless — absolutely senseless — act of violence,” Sewell said. She said the attack was “unprovoked” and that Go had no previous interaction with Martial, who fled the scene and turned himself in “a short time later.”
Mayor Eric Adams also called Go’s death a “senseless act of violence” and said he had “rolled out a very significant plan” to deal with crime and “the mental health crises that we are facing.”
Officials said it was not the first “subway pushing” in recent times.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Go’s family.
“Michelle was a vibrant, hilarious, beloved and thoughtful friend, daughter, sister, coworker and public advocate. There has been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy and support from those who knew her around the world, as she is remembered as a caring, natural leader and loyal friend. She will be greatly missed,” it says.
2. Martial Shouted at Reporters That He Was God
When reporters confronted Martial after his arrest, he confessed to pushing Go into the train, according to The New York Post.
Martial, 61, yelled at reporters to “Go f*** yourself,” outside the Midtown South precinct, the Post reported.
Reporters asked if he had killed Go, and he replied, “Yeah because I’m God. Yes I did. I’m God, I can do it,” adding, “she stole my f****** jacket, that’s why.”
Maria Coste-Webber told The New York Post that she witnessed the attack and Martial had “no expression” on his face but seemed to carefully time the push with the oncoming train.
“[Go] was about a foot and a half away from the end of the platform waiting for the train, and he was about 3 feet behind her,” Coste-Webber told The Post. “He pushed her at the same time the train was coming, like he timed it. He pushed her right in front of the train, and then she vanished as the train passed. She didn’t see anything coming. She was facing the train.”
3. Politicians & the Public Expressed Outrage Over the Death of Go, Who Has Worked in Investment Banking
Go’s LinkedIn page says she worked as “Senior Manager, Strategy & Operations, M&A at Deloitte Consulting.”
Before that, she was an investment banking vice president for Barclays Capital and worked as a Capital Markets Associate for Citi and a senior financial analyst for URS Corporation. She received a degree in economics and public policy from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA in finance from NYU Stern School of Business. She volunteered as vice chair of the Community Health Access Module Program for the Junior League of the City of New York.
Michael Henry, who is running for New York Attorney General, wrote on Twitter:
Remember her face. Remember her name.
This is Michelle Alyssa Go.
She is part of the Asian community and most importantly part of our New York family.
A criminal who was released last year fatally pushed her onto the subway tracks.
This cannot stand in our state.
A woman wrote on Facebook, “My heart is heavy. I am thinking of the family and friends of Michelle Alyssa Go, whose life was cut short by an act of hate and violence. In reflection, I wrote a poem, We Belong Here.”
4. Martial, Who Might Be Homeless, Has an ‘Extensive Criminal History’
According to Fox9, Martial is a homeless man with an “extensive criminal history.”
Police said Martial was “known to” police and the criminal justice system. He has three past “emotionally disturbed encounters” with police, said NYPD Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox in the news conference.
He has prior addresses in the Bronx, but “he might be homeless,” said Wilcox. “He does have a criminal background.” He was on parole at one point in time and did have a parole warrant that police are looking into, according to Wilcox.
According to The New York Times, Martial had prior arrests including “two prison sentences, including one for an attempted robbery for which his parole had recently ended.”
5. Martial Is Accused of Approaching Another Woman Before Pushing Go
Wilcox said in the news conference that Martial was seen on video on “the platform downstairs.” The victim was “pushed in front of the train,” he said.
Martial had “another encounter … with another female rider who is not Asian,” Wilcox said. Martial approached her, got “in her space,” and she got “very alarmed” and tried to move away from him, Wilcox said. She told police she thought that he was about to physically push her on the tracks. As she was walking away, she witnessed Go being pushed, said Wilcox.
Roughly 20 minutes after Go was pushed, Martial walked into a transit district station and reported that “he had pushed a woman in front of the train.” He was taken into custody, Wilcox said.
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