Michelle Alyssa Go subway attack: NYC mayor announces plans for more mental health services

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he plans to step up mental health assistance in subways in the wake of the killing of Michelle Alyssa Go, who was pushed in front of an oncoming subway train by a man with a reported mental health history.

Go, a 40-year-old Asian American woman, was standing on the platform inside the Times Square subway station on Saturday morning when Simon Martial, 61, pushed her in front of an R train as it rolled in, police have said. She did not survive the impact. 

Martial was charged with second-degree murder. On Wednesday, a Manhattan judge ordered him held without bail and required that he undergo a mental health evaluation to determine whether he is mentally fit.

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Photo of 61-year-old Simon Martial, who allegedly pushed a woman to her death on a NYC platform 
(WNYW)

Officials have previously noted that police documented “three emotionally disturbed encounters” with Martial in the past. 

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, Mayor Adams said the city’s “hands are tied a lot” in what they can do in response to a disruptive person or someone in crisis in the subway system. 

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“We have to do a better job in having those who are disruptive on this system, appear to have real mental health crises … to give them the services they need and not leave them on the system,” Adams told reporters. 

A commuter talks to a police officer with a dog at the Times Square subway station where Michelle Go was killed. 

A commuter talks to a police officer with a dog at the Times Square subway station where Michelle Go was killed. 
(ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

There are certain ways in which to have a person removed from the subway system he said, but “it’s a very delicate balance.” 

Adams said he has had conversations with Gov. Kathy Hochul about having more mental health professionals deployed in the subway stations.

“As soon as that officer identifies there’s someone at the 42nd Street Station that appears to have a mental health issue, we need to get people there right away,” the mayor, a former NYPD transit cop, explained. “That’s the next level of evolution that’s there.”

He went on: “We don’t want this to be just police … but we need to get the mental health professionals responding in a faster manner, and right now, I don’t think we’re doing a good enough job of doing so.” 

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Adams acknowledged on Tuesday that he too, has felt unsafe at times in the subway system.

“On day one, I took the subway system, I felt unsafe,” he said. “I saw homeless everywhere. People were yelling on the trains. There was a feeling of disorder. So as we deal with the crime problem, we also have to deal with the fact people feel unsafe.”

He announced earlier this year his plans to bolster NYPD presence in the subway system. 

Six police officers were working inside the Times Square Station on the day Go was killed, including two officers who were at the other end of the platform when Go was pushed, NYPD Chief of Transit Kathleen O’Reilly told reporters at the time.

Martial was in the subway system for only nine minutes before the tragedy. 

Prosecutors said police are still investigating whether the attack was motivated by racial bias. 

Go was an avid volunteer who worked as a senior manager for Deloitte Consulting. She was honored with a candlelight vigil in Times Square on Tuesday night, when her face shone on signs and billboards.

Attendees held signs and wore face masks that read: “Stop Asian Hate.” 

Ben Wei, founder and executive director of “Asians Fighting Injustice,” organized Wednesday’s vigil. He said the news that “another member of our community – the [Asian Americans and Pacific Islander] community here in New York being taken from us” is a story that “we’ve heard way too often over the past two years.” 

He added: “There has been a painful history in the past two years of mentally ill individuals attacking members of our community.”

In a statement obtained by the local affiliate, FOX 5 New York, Go’s family asked that she be remembered “for how she lived and not just how she died.”

“She was a beautiful, brilliant, kind and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends, loved to travel the world and to help others,” the statement reads. “Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence, and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves.”

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A GoFundMe page was created to benefit “the causes and communities that honor Michelle’s legacy. As of Wednesday afternoon, the page had raised $38,105 of its $50,000 goal. 

Fox News’ Monica Guy and Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report. 

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