In one of the most chilling, shocking, and even random crimes on the subway this year, 39-year-old Queens resident Kemal Semrade severely injured a 35-year-old woman by shoving her right into a moving Manhattan subway train. It’s the type of crime that has kept citizens wary of taking public transit.
The victim was award-winning Turkic artist Emine Yilmaz Ozsoy. She was on her way to work when Semrade, who had no prior criminal record, allegedly came up behind her, grabbed her with both hands, and pushed her head into a departing E train at the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station. The collision left her instantly paralyzed; she suffered a spinal fracture, ruptured blood vessels, and broken fingers, and remained hospitalized in critical condition. Authorities say there’s still a risk that Emine could suffer a stroke or die.
“She is still recovering from her surgery from the day of the incident. She’s hanging in there. We are doing our best to keep her spirits high,” Emine’s husband, Ferdi Ozsoy, told PIX11 News Tuesday night.
“Her life has been profoundly impacted by this tragic act of violence. She has suffered a severe
injury to her neck that has resulted in significant limitations. Unfortunately, her mobility is
expected to be affected, greatly impacting her daily life. But of course, faith and hope are
never-ending. She’s young. She’s a strong woman. She’s creative. She’s empathetic. She’s a
warrior,” Ozsoy added.
A GoFundMe page to help raise funds for her staggering medical bills raised nearly $45,000 in two days, thanks to over 700 separate donations. The goal is now to raise $500,000.
Semrade faces three charges of assault along with a single charge of second-degree attempted murder, and a high-state prison sentence if he ends up convicted. He was arraigned Wednesday, was held without bail, and is due back in court on Friday. Prosecutors say they have sufficient eyewitness testimony and surveillance footage of the attack.
The MTA said it was pleased by the quick arrest of Semrade. CEO Janno Lieber described the attack as horrific and also said “We want to see the book thrown at this guy, whoever he is, whatever his motivation was. We need our riders to know that those kinds of people are going to face the maximum consequence.”
Separately, NYC Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement that “the NYPD acted quickly, using pictures from MTA cameras, to arrest a suspect and start delivering justice to the victim, who is in our thoughts at this terrible time. It’s now up to prosecutors to pursue maximum consequences available under the law.”