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Suspect arrested in fatal NYC subway shooting


Crime

Andrew Abdullah is escorted through the Fifth Ward, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in New York. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

NEW YORK (AP) — A man suspected of abruptly firing a gun and killing a stranger on a New York City subway train was arrested on Tuesday, with police saying the motive for the unprovoked attack was “a great mystery”.

Andrew Abdullah, 25, was facing a murder charge in the death of Daniel Enriquez, 48, who was shot while on his way to Sunday brunch.

Abdullah “targeted this poor individual for reasons we don’t know about,” Chief of Detectives James Essig told a news conference.

The arrest came hours after police posted Abdullah’s name and photo on social media and pleaded with the public to help find him. But after the arrest, police revealed that officers briefly detained him after the shooting but let him go because his clothes did not match the description they were given.

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Abdullah, said it was just beginning to review the evidence and urged the public not to make assumptions about the case.

“Mr. Abdullah deserves vigorous representation from his lawyer, and that is what the Legal Aid Society will provide,” the organization said in a statement.

About six weeks after another subway shooting injured 10 people, witnesses on Sunday saw a man pacing the last car of a Q line train heading from Brooklyn to Manhattan, mumbling to himself, a declared Essig. The only words that the witnesses could distinguish: “No telephone”.

The man then pulled out a gun and shot Enriquez at close range, hitting him once in the chest, police said. The shooter fled after the train arrived at Canal Street in Manhattan and abandoned his gun while handing it to an unidentified man on the subway stairs, Essig said. Police eventually tracked down the recipient and the gun, which were reported stolen in Virginia in 2019.

About a block and a half away, officers stopped Abdullah and asked him what he was doing, Essig said. But he wasn’t wearing the black hoodie mentioned in the suspect’s initial description, and he had a backpack that wasn’t mentioned. Officers let him go but took down his name.

It was only later, when viewing surveillance video, that police realized the shooter had removed the sweatshirt after the shooting, Essig said.

The Legal Aid Society said it had been trying since Monday night to get Abdullah to attend the subway shooting, but authorities instead made a ‘completely unwarranted and inappropriate’ decision to apprehend him outside the offices organisation. An inquiry was sent to the police.

Abdullah was on parole until last June after serving 2.5 years behind bars following a conviction for conspiracy and attempted possession of weapons in a gang case, parole records and police show. Court records show he has open criminal cases stemming from a vehicle theft on April 24 and an alleged assault in 2020. He did not plead guilty to either of those cases; messages seeking comment were left for his attorneys.

“This horrific crime should never have happened,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a press conference on Tuesday, calling Abdullah “a repeat offender given free rein by the criminal justice system.”

Ahead of his arrest, Enriquez’s sister, Griselda Vile, implored the city on Tuesday to get tough on crime.

“I’m pleading that this doesn’t happen to another New Yorker,” she told Fox News. “I don’t want my brother to be just a passing name in the media, a passing name in our post-pandemic normalcy.”

Enriquez worked for the global investment research division at Goldman Sachs, where CEO David Solomon called him a dedicated and beloved employee who “embodied our culture of collaboration and excellence.”

The child of Mexican American parents, Enriquez spent his early childhood in Brooklyn before his family moved to California and then Seattle, his partner, Adam Pollack, told the New YorkPost.

Enriquez returned to New York in the mid-1990s to pursue a master’s degree in Latin American studies at New York University. His urge to learn didn’t stop there – during the coronavirus pandemic he learned to play the guitar and speak Portuguese and Italian, his family and partner said.

“He was constantly in self-improvement mode,” his brother-in-law Glenn Vile told Fox News.

The eldest of five children, Enriquez texted his siblings about an hour before he was killed advising them to watch their parents, who have health issues, she said.

The seemingly random shooting further rocked a city already worried about public safety. Many types of crime rebounded after dropping dramatically earlier in the pandemic when people stayed home.

In the first five months of 2022, the number of shootings in the city is down slightly from the same period a year earlier, and the number of murders is down 12% so far from the year last. But New York is still on course for its second-highest homicide count since 2011, after nearly a decade of record lows.

In terms of violent crime, the city remains significantly safer today than it was in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. But crime is now by far the top concern for voters in the city, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this month. He surveyed 1,249 registered municipal voters and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat who has campaigned on promises to make the city safer, said his administration will assess how it deploys officers to the vast subway system.

Associated Press reporters Mary Altaffer and Tom Hays contributed.



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