Michelle Go, a 40-year old Deloitte consulting manager, was killed on Sunday when a homeless man pushed her onto the subway tracks at New York City’s Times Square. She was shoved from behind into an approaching R train at approximately 9:40 a.m., where the man was arrested shortly thereafter.
Turning himself in to the police, the subway pusher was later identified as 61-year-old Simon Martial, who has since been charged with murder.
Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox revealed that he had “three emotionally disturbed encounters” with police prior to the incident. He said that another woman told authorities that she also felt like he was about to push her onto the subway tracks before she was able to walk away. Later, she witnessed him shoving Michelle Go.
The attack against Go, who was Asian American, also raised concerns about the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, though police are investigating whether they believe the attack to be fueled by racism.
“This latest attack causing the death of an Asian American woman in the Times Square subway station is particularly horrifying for our community,” said Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
On New Year’s Eve, a 61-year-old Chinese man named Yao Pan Ma died when he was attacked collecting cans.
“These attacks have left Asian Americans across the city and across the country feeling vulnerable and they must stop,” Fung stated.
A graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, Michelle Go lived on the Upper West Side where she worked strategy and operations for Deloitte. She also volunteered for the New York Junior League and helped the homeless get back on their feet.
“Michelle’s focus populations were seniors, recovering homeless, immigrants, and under resourced and academically struggling elementary and middle school kids and their parents,” a representative from the Junior League told the New York Post. “She helped them prepare to enter or re-enter the workforce by developing their professional skills of resume writing, interviewing, and networking, and by making sound decisions in matters of personal finance.”
A makeshift memorial was made at the station for Michelle Go, where people left flowers and posted sticky-notes that read messages such as “#StopAsianHate” and “Pass the Hate Crime Bill.”
Mourned by friends and family, Michelle Go was described as “a good friend & neighbor” who had “the right to be safe on the subway.”
Jonathan Gandal, a fellow managing director at Deloitte, told The New York Times that the company was currently doing everything it could to help assist her family “during this terribly painful time.”
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague in this senseless act of violence,” he said.
Other members of the team also called her a natural leader and said that she was very a dependable person.
Speaking about the attack on Sunday, New York City’s new mayor Eric Adams stated that, “We want to continue to highlight how imperative it is that people receive the right mental health services, particularly on our subway system.”
“To lose a New Yorker in this fashion will only continue to elevate the fears of individuals not using our subway system,” Adams continued.
Subway usage in New York City is currently half of what it was before the pandemic hit in March 2020, with many riders complaining about the lack of resources for a surge of homeless and mentally ill encounters on the train.
In an official statement, the Junior League wrote that it was, “greatly saddened to learn of the death of Michelle Go under such senseless and tragic circumstances.”
“We call upon the city’s leadership,” the organization continued, “to urgently address the lack of mental-health and other supports for underserved communities.”