Lacey was indicted on one count of attempted murder, another count of assault, and several other lesser charges stemming from the May 2021 incident.
His alleged victim, an elderly Asian man whose name has not been released, was knocked unconscious during the attack, according to reports. Bystanders managed to flag down the train’s conductor and pull the man back onto the platform, saving his life.
Lacey was taken into police custody late last week following a monthslong investigation.
Subway Pusher Attacks Old Man
According to the office of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, an elderly man was waiting at the F train subway stop in Long Island City when a stranger approached him from behind and shoved him off the platform, just as a train was approaching.
While his attacker fled, the man fell to the tracks below, suffering lacerations on his head and blacking out on impact, reports claim.
But quick-thinking commuters sprang into action — some were able to get the attention of the train’s conductor and signal for him to stop, while others lifted the wounded man from the tracks and out of harm’s way.
The victim was hospitalized at Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens and treated for a head injury, a fractured wrist, and a deep cut that required 14 stitches, according to the criminal complaint. His condition eventually stabilized, though his identity was never released.
Police circulated surveillance footage that captured the attacker’s face and asked for the public’s help in tracking him down.
NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force carried on an investigation for months, before DA Katz announced that Lacey was charged with the grisly crime.
“Without provocation, this defendant allegedly shoved a man from the platform of the subway onto the tracks with a train entering the station,” the prosecutor said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This could have ended with tragic results if not for the quick action of good Samaritans who flagged the train to stop and others who pulled the man up to safety. The defendant, who was on the run for months, is now in custody and facing very serious charges.”
Ronald Lacey Charged With Attempted Murder
Ronald Lacey was arrested on Friday and booked into a city jail on charges of attempted murder, felony assault, reckless endangerment in the first degree and second-degree harassment, DA Katz said.
Detectives have not said what evidence led them to charge Lacey after nearly eight months of investigating. Police have not given an apparent motive, and there’s no indication the incident is being prosecuted as a hate crime.
Lacey is due back in court for his arraignment on Wednesday, according to reports.
If convicted of the attempted murder charge, the 23-year-old could face up to 25 years in prison. The assault count could earn him an additional five years behind bars, and the reckless endangerment charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment under New York state law.
Subway Pushing is Shockingly Common
Lacey is the second alleged subway pusher to face criminal charges in New York City in recent months.
In October, Anthonia Egegbara was arrested after police said she shoved a 42-year-old woman into an oncoming train in Queens. The victim, Lenny Javier, didn’t land on the tracks but clipped the side of the moving train and was hospitalized with a broken nose and a fractured chin.
Across the city, transit crime appeared to rise sharply in 2021. In the month of September alone, one report indicated that criminal activity on the city’s subway was up by 59 percent.