December 5, 2012 / 5:25 PM / 5 years ago

Suspect arrested in death of man pushed on New York subway tracks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man was arrested on Wednesday in the death of a subway passenger who was shoved onto the tracks ahead of an oncoming train at a station near Times Square earlier this week, police said.

Naeem Davis, 30, was charged with one count of attempted murder, second degree, and one count of murder with depraved indifference, second degree, police said.

He is accused of pushing the victim, 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han, onto the tracks as a southbound train pulled into the station at 49th Street, police said. He is expected to be arraigned in New York State Supreme Court later on Wednesday.

Davis was first brought in for questioning in the case on Tuesday, during which he “implicated himself in the incident,” according to New York City Police Department spokesman Paul Browne.

Monday’s incident has struck a nerve in a city where getting jostled by strangers on crowded subway platforms is a daily occurrence.

Earlier on Wednesday, the tabloid news photographer whose pictures of Han in the path of the train unleashed a maelstrom of criticism said he was too far from the victim to offer help.

R. Umar Abbasi, a freelance photographer for the New York Post, said he rapidly shot dozens of frames using his flash in a vain effort to alert the train driver to the presence of the stunned victim on the tracks on Monday afternoon.

Seconds later the train struck and killed Han, a resident of Queens.

“My condolences to the family, and if I could have, I would have pulled Mr. Han out,” Abbasi said on NBC’s “Today” show.

The Post, no stranger to controversy over headlines and stories, sparked greater outrage than usual on Tuesday when it featured one of Abbasi’s photographs on its front page.

Two men are seen talking on a New York City subway platform in this framegrab from a video released by the New York City Police Department December 3, 2012. According to police, the man on the right pushed the other man (face blocked), 58-year-old Han Ki-Suck, onto the track as the southbound train on the N-Q-R line was pulling into the station at 49th Street near Times Square. Han was trapped between the platform and the train and was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The other man who escaped and is still at large, police said. REUTERS/NYPD/Handout

It showed Han trying to pull himself from the tracks and looking into the lights of the oncoming train with the headlines “DOOMED” and “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die.”

In a first-person account the Post published on Wednesday, Abbasi said the incident ”was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen, to watch that man dying there.

“I didn’t even know at all that I had even captured the images in such detail.”

Abbasi also took a New York Times reporter back to the scene to re-enact his movements after Han was thrown to the tracks after what appeared to be an argument with another passenger.

Abbasi told The Times that he held his camera outstretched in front of the train, snapping his flash 49 times in a vain attempt to get the train conductor to slow down.

The conductor has been hospitalized for trauma after the incident, the Post and New York Daily News reported.

“People think I had time to set the camera and take photos, and that isn’t the case,” Abbasi wrote in the Post story.

“The sad part is, there were people who were close to the victim, who watched and didn’t do anything,” he said. “You can see it in the pictures.”

Still, criticism of Abbasi and The Post was rife in social media.

“isappointed & disgusted by #NYPost decision to print photo of mans last moment alive, b4 being squished by train,” read a tweet from a California Twitter account.

Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Dan Burns and Vicki Aallen

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