Police say they arrested 48-year-old Christian Jeffers on a slew of hate crime charges including assault, aggravated harassment and menacing. Jeffers was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
Sources tell Eyewitness News Jeffers was taken in for questioning by police around 2 p.m. Wednesday after being spotted by officers at 125th Street and Lexington.
They say the alleged weapon used during the attack was found on Jeffers.
The incident happened on the number 2 subway line platform of the 14th street station just before 9:15 p.m. Tuesday.
The 29-year-old victim, who does not want to be identified, said he was near the turnstile and about to take a train home with a friend when he saw the suspect get aggressive with another rider. Then the suspect bumped into him.
“He got into my face,” the victim said. “He said to me some words like ‘can’t you see I’m walking here?'”
Within seconds, the hostility turned ugly and the suspect pulled out a hammer from a bag and swung it several times. The victim said it all happened so fast, he never even saw the hammer.
The victim was conscious and alert after the attack and taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.
“I didn’t particularly feel unsafe…but it is a place where you have to be alert and be aware of what’s around you,” the victim said.
The suspect ran away but was described as around 30 years old, 6’2″ tall with a slim build, wearing a wig, purple lipstick, blue jeans, wearing a red and white jacket, red and white sneakers and carrying a tote bag.
The motive for the subway system’s latest hammer attack was not immediately known.
The victim is Asian, and the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating whether this was motivated by hate.
The NYPD reports that transit crime is up 73% in the last year. With crime on the rise, riders say they feel less safe.
“Honestly, I’m very surprised, I tend to feel very safe in these places so to hear that type of news really shocked me,” one rider said. “Makes me feel a little less safe.”
“I kind of feel like there isn’t much I can do, I kind of rely on the subway to get where I need to go, to get to work, so my options are limited, I have to use the subway,” said another.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).