New York City police have in custody the woman who pushed a Queens immigrant off the platform of a subway station late last Thursday and onto the tracks as a train rumbled in. They also have a motive for the gruesome crime: religious intolerance. The “pusher” assumed her target was a Muslim.
The New York Post reports:
Erika Menendez, 31, was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime after admitting to investigators that she pushed Sunando Sen, 46 — a Hindu — in front of a 7 train in Sunnyside on Thursday night, officials said.
She told police that she pushed a Muslim off the train tracks. She said, ‘I’ve hated Hindus and Muslims since 2001, since they put down the Twin Towers. I have been beating them up since.’
In point of fact there were no Hindus involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement to the press:
She is accused of committing a subway commuter’s worst nightmare — suddenly and senselessly [being] pushed into the path of an oncoming train, shoved from behind with no chance to defend himself.
Menendez, who faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty, was described as “wild-eyed” as she was escorted from the 112th Precinct station house on Saturday, wailing incoherently and contorting her face into a fiendish grin.
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Her behavior was no less bizarre during her arraignment hearing in Queens Criminal Court where she was seized by an uncontrollable fit of hysterical laughter. She is scheduled to undergo a psychiatric evaluation today.
A relative reached by the Post claims that Menendez is bipolar, adding that she has been hospitalized “10 to 15 times.” Her building’s doorman confirmed that she loses control when she is off her meds.
Menendez was apprehended after a tipster recognized her from surveillance stills circulated by the NYPD and phoned police. After initially denying that she had been in the subway station at the time of the fatal push, Menendez did a 180 at her arraignment, entering a plea of guilty.
Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, and The George Espenlaub Show.
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