Man Throws Flaming Liquid on New York City Subway, Burns Fellow Rider: Police

Man Throws Flaming Liquid on New York City Subway, Burns Fellow Rider: Police
The MTA logo on the side of a New York City subway car in the Queens borough of New York on April 23, 2020. (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)

NEW YORK—A man set a cup of liquid on fire and tossed it at a fellow subway rider in New York City, setting the victim’s shirt ablaze and injuring him, police said Sunday.

The random attack happened on a No. 1 train in lower Manhattan on Saturday afternoon, city police said, adding that the suspect was in custody on an array of criminal charges. Authorities also charged the man in connection with a similar fiery assault on the subway in February.

The victim from Saturday, a 23-year-old man, was recovering at a hospital. He told the New York Post that he shielded his fiancee and cousin from the burning liquid and his shirt caught on fire. He said he slapped himself to put out the flames. Doctors told him he had burns on about a third of his body, he said.

“He had a cup,” the victim told the Post. “He made fire and he threw it all.”

While violent crime is rare in the city’s subway system, which serves about 3 million riders a day, some high-profile attacks this year have left some riders on edge. They include the death of a man who was shoved onto the tracks in East Harlem in March and a few shootings.

The suspect in Saturday’s assault, Nile Taylor, 49, was arrested a short time after it happened when police tracked a phone he allegedly stole from another subway rider to his location, authorities said. He was charged with assault, arson, illegal possession of a weapon, and several other crimes.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Mr. Taylor had a lawyer who could respond to the allegations, or when he would be arraigned in court.

Authorities also announced on Sunday afternoon that Mr. Taylor was charged with attempted assault, reckless endangerment, and arson in the February attack. Police say he threw a container with a flaming liquid at a group of people on a subway platform in the West 28th Street station. No one was injured.

Gov. Kathy Hochul in March announced that hundreds of National Guard members would be going into the subway system to boost security. City police said 800 more officers would be deployed to the subway to crack down on fare evasion.

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