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Man throws flaming liquid on New York City subway, burns fellow rider

A downtown 1 train pulls into the newly-opened WTC Cortlandt subway station in New York on Saturday evening, Sept. 8, 2018. AP Photo/Patrick Sison) A downtown 1 train pulls into the newly-opened WTC Cortlandt subway station in New York on Saturday evening, Sept. 8, 2018. AP Photo/Patrick Sison)
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A man set a cup of liquid on fire and tossed it at a fellow subway rider in New York City, setting the victim's shirt ablaze and injuring him.

The random attack happened on a No. 1 train in lower Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, city police said, adding that the suspect was in custody.

The victim, a 23-year-old man, was recovering at a hospital. He told the New York Post that he shielded his fiancee and cousin from the burning liquid and his shirt caught on fire. He said he slapped himself to put out the flames. Doctors told him he had burns on about a third of his body, he said.

“He had a cup,” the victim told the Post. “He made fire and he threw it all.”

The suspect, a 49-year-old man, was arrested a short time later after police tracked a phone he allegedly stole from another subway rider to his location, authorities said. Police have not announced the charges against the man, and it wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer would respond to the allegations.

Police are also investigating a similar incident in February when a man threw a container with a flaming liquid at a group of people on a subway platform in the West 28th Street station.

While violent crime is rare in the city’s subway system, which serves about three million riders a day, some high-profile incidents this year have left some riders on edge — including the death of a man who was shoved onto the tracks in East Harlem in March and a few shootings.

Gov. Kathy Hochul in March announced that hundreds of National Guard members would be going into the subway system in efforts to boost security. And city police said 800 more officers would be deployed to the subway to crack down on fare evasion.

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