A woman was killed on Saturday morning after she was pushed in front of an oncoming subway train at the Times Square station, the police said.
The woman was standing on the platform around 9:30 a.m. waiting for the train to arrive at the station at 42nd Street in Manhattan, the police said. As a Brooklyn-bound R train pulled into the station, she was pushed onto the tracks and struck by it.
She died at the scene, the police said. Her name was not immediately released.
Officers took a man who they said may be homeless into custody shortly afterward, and he was still being questioned at around 11 a.m., the police said. A second man was also being interviewed, the police said.
Mayor Eric Adams traveled to the station on Saturday, and he was expected to hold a news conference with the police and transit officials in the afternoon.
The woman who was killed was Asian, though it was unclear whether she was targeted because of her race or ethnicity.
Unprovoked attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic, including several in the subway system, have stoked fear and anger in New York and elsewhere, with activists and elected officials pointing both to mental illness and the impact of rhetoric blaming the coronavirus on China.
The killing on Saturday lies at the crux of several issues that have spurred concerns from some New Yorkers over subway safety since the pandemic began. It came after state and city officials this month announced changes to how the police would operate in the transit system and work with homeless people as they aim to lure back more riders.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mr. Adams have said that the more than 2,000 officers who are assigned to patrol the system will lead more regular sweeps of subway platforms and trains as they attempt to ease broad concerns of crime.
Elected officials said the killing on Saturday underscored the importance of a more well-rounded approach to matters of safety and homelessness in the subway system.
“We need to implement better policies to protect New Yorkers riding mass transit and to get people the proper help that they need — mental and social services,” Representative Grace Meng wrote on Twitter after the killing.
The state plans to develop small teams of social workers and medical professionals to provide services as homelessness on the streets and subways persists for thousands. Officials said that transit officers would make referrals to the teams, with an aim to better address the needs of people who are homeless or who have mental illnesses.
Mr. Adams said that he believed an underlying “perception of crime” had prompted worries among some subway riders.
Transit officials have emphasized that serious crimes in the system are at their lowest in decades, and major felonies were at their lowest combined total in 25 years through November. However, ridership was also much lower, and the rate of several crimes per million riders has risen since 2019.
High-profile attacks throughout the pandemic against Asian New Yorkers, along with other episodes, such as assaults, stabbings and the shoving of people onto tracks, have also generated a flurry of news reports about violence that transit officials say have fed the fears.
Three murders were reported in 2019 in the system; that number doubled to six in 2020. Through November, six murders were also reported in 2021.
Michael Gold contributed reporting.