NEW YORK (AP) _ Sylvia Zimmerman stopped riding the subway 10 years ago after she was mugged. After reading about the city’s drop in crime, she had finally summoned the courage to go underground again.
Now the slaying of a vivacious young woman _ shoved by a stranger under the wheels of a Manhattan train _ has Mrs. Zimmerman and other New Yorkers looking over their shoulders.
Kendra Webdale, 32, was decapitated as the first three cars of an uptown train ran over her in the 23rd Street and Broadway station shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday.
``I hope this is not a sign that crime is making a return,″ worried Mrs. Zimmerman, 65, a Manhattan native.
``I’ve felt so safe ever since I moved here,″ said Jenna Gamble, 29, who moved to Manhattan from Dallas a year ago. ``Nothing bad has ever happened to me. But I come into the station where that woman was killed nearly every day, and this has really scared me.″
Right after the incident, the subway motorman shouted at passengers to surround and hold the suspect, Andrew Goldstein, 29. Police said Goldstein, who was charged with second-degree murder, was carrying medical papers indicating he was under psychiatric care at an outpatient clinic.
Ms. Webdale, a receptionist at Masterdisk Corp., a record company, was apparently a random victim, said Lt. John Shields of the 13th Detective Squad.
``He spoke to her briefly, he asked her the time,″ he added.
Prosecutor William Greenbaum said at least three witnesses saw Goldstein push Ms. Webdale off the platform, and that the suspect has admitted to the crime.
The city has seen a decline in murders, other violent crimes and subway crimes in the past few years. Only one person was murdered in the subways last year, compared with four in 1997 and 26 in 1990.
The last death of someone pushed onto the tracks was on Jan. 4, 1995, when a homeless man shoved Soon Sin, 63, a retired seamstress from Queens.
Goldstein’s court-appointed attorney, Kevin Canfield, said his client is very disturbed. ``He has a history of schizophrenia,″ Canfield said after Goldstein’s brief arraignment. ``He has been under a doctor’s care for some time″ and taking medication.
Goldstein was ordered held without bail, placed under a suicide watch and told to undergo a psychiatric exam.