A man who police allege told a subway rider "I will chop you up on this train" before attacking her while the pair were aboard the subway in Brooklyn earlier this week has turned himself in.
Police said investigators were speaking to 37-year-old Ras Alula Nagarit on Thursday night, two days after they say he allegedly hit a 29-year-old woman with an object wrapped in cloth on a train in Prospect Heights.
Nagarit has been charged with assault, attempted assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.
U.S. & World
The attack was the latest in a string of slashings and stabbings that have shocked New Yorkers recently. The NYPD confirms slashings in the five boroughs were up nearly 15 percent in January over the same month in 2015: there were 249 slashings in January of 2015, compared to 286 so far this month.
Of those, five of the slashings happened on the subway this month, compared to just two in 2015.
Police say most subway slashings are the result of a fight, and that just three people were slashed at random throughout the year.
"Each one seems to have its own motivation when we make the arrest and get into what was behind it," Bratton said Wednesday. "Sometimes they’re emotionally disturbed persons. So their rationale is beyond rationalization.”
When it comes to subway crime -- most of which is not violent, mainly thefts of bags or cellphones from sleeping people -- NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says there are already 2,800 officers on patrol underground, with some undercover. He announced Thursday another 1,300 officers will be trained to join the officers on the subway.
NYPD Transit Chief Joseph Fox took to the trains with NBC 4 New York Thursday to reassure riders the subway is "very safe" but says understands their concerns.
"It only has to happen once for everyone to see it happening to them. That's where our job is," he said.
With the new officers, "we want to be there to throw off potential criminals," Fox said.