A suspect the NYPD had sought for about four months for allegedly knocking an Asian woman and her adult son down subway steps during a fatal allleged robbery attempt this summer has been arrested and charged with murder.
Police had publicly identified 53-year-old David Robinson on July 28 – 11 days after investigators say he approached Than Wtwe Than, 58, and her 22-year-old son at 9:40 a.m. inside the Canal Street “N” subway station in Manhattan. Police say Robinson tried to forcibly remove a bag, causing the two victims to fall down a flight of stairs at the Chinatown subway station on July 17.
Authorities say a surveillance camera captured footage of the suspect at the station.
SUSPECT IDENTIFIED IN ATTEMPTED NYC SUBWAY ROBBERY THAT LEFT ASIAN WOMAN DEAD
Than was hospitalized in critical condition with a severe head injury. She slipped into a coma and died days later at Bellevue Hospital. Police named Robinson as the suspect hours after her death.
NYPD detectives arrested Robinson Saturday on murder and manslaughter charges in connection to the incident. The New York Daily News reported a tipster spotted Robinson at Central Park and called police.
According to the newspaper, Than and her son had immigrated from Burma three years ago. The two were on their way to a doctor appointment for Than when they were approached from behind at the subway station. The suspect allegedly grabbed onto her son’s backpack, sending the two tumbling down the stairs.
Than and her son were attacked at a time of increased crime in New York City’s subway system. NYPD data also showed hate crimes targeting Asian victims had been on the rise since 2020, and the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crimes Task Force shared news of Robinson’s arrest on their Twitter account Saturday.
The July incident prompted MTA communications director Tim Minton to call on prosecutors “to be as aggressive in court as the NYPD was in its investigation.” In comments to WNBC, he also reiterated the need for more security cameras on the subways and at stations.
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“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Than Wtwe Than. No one should have to suffer such a senseless and depraved attack,” the MTA stated. “We agree there should be additional policing and additional security cameras in the subway system – which is why we have been so aggressive in efforts on both fronts. New York City Transit has accelerated installation of cameras in the subways at a historic pace, with cameras expected in every station by end of summer. For this specific incident, we are grateful our cameras captured the perpetrator, significantly aiding the NYPD investigation.”