The incident, which also left the woman’s husband and grandson injured, occurred on the C train platform at the Clinton-Washington subway station around 1:45 p.m. on Monday.
It all started when a man lit up a cigarette and Henry Cheng, 30, called him out for “smoking in an enclosed space during a pandemic.”
To Henry’s horror, the man sprinted in their direction, punching him repeatedly in the face.
Henry’s grandfather, Ren Bao, 82, was also hit and bleeding from his face after trying to intervene.
The assailant then pushed his grandmother, Bi He, 73, onto the tracks when she tried to pull them apart.
Henry, who tried to chase the assailant, rushed to pull his grandmother to safety. An approaching train stopped just a few feet away from her.
“I feel guilty. At the end of the day, I caused the guy to run at us like that,” Henry told the New York Daily News on Wednesday. “I put most of the blame on myself for putting them in that situation…I should know better after 30 years in this city.”
Bi He suffered a bleeding skull and a foot injury that required surgery. Henry sustained a dislocated jaw and will undergo surgery this week to have plates installed in his face. His grandfather had cuts on his face.
“I’m not really worried about myself right now,” Henry told the Daily News. “I care more about my grandparents.”
Henry’s mother, Ren Cheng, is upset over the incident. “Their entire faces are swollen,” she told the New York Post of her son and father. “How could someone do something like this?”
Ren learned that they received stitches, while her mother’s foot “looked twisted.”
Henry’s brother, Alvin, described the event as a “heinous” incident. He is urging the assailant to turn themselves in, but added he has words for them “that wouldn’t be too friendly.”
“I was pretty mad in terms of what happened and how it happened, especially because my grandparents were involved,” Alvin told the Post. “It hit a little harder just because of their age. When I found out about my grandmother, that part especially hit me the most because she almost got hit as she fell on the tracks. I felt a little better knowing the train stopped pretty far away.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family’s aid on Tuesday. It has reached over $9,000 of its $10,000 goal, as of this writing.
The NYPD is still looking for the assailant, who is described to be of fair complexion, between the ages of 25 and 30, standing about 5 feet 7 inches, weighing around 200 pounds, and with black hair and facial hair. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, gray pants, white sneakers and a black backpack.
Feature Images via GoFundMe (left) and New York Police Department (right)
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