Subway conductor slashed in neck in Brooklyn amid uptick in transit violence

He hung his head out of the conductor's cab when the train pulled into the station and promptly got slashed in the neck, authorities say

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A subway conductor was taken to a hospital after being slashed in the neck in an apparently random Brooklyn attack Thursday, the latest in a series of violent incidents plaguing the transit system in recent weeks, authorities say.

Police swarmed the Rockaway Avenue subway station, on the C line, after getting a 911 call about the 3:40 a.m. attack. Investigators say he was on the job at the time, performing his duties on a southbound C train. He stuck his head out of the conductor's cab, and got slashed by an unknown individual, authorities say. The slasher ran off.

The conductor yelled for help over the PA system and luckily a doctor was aboard the train. The conductor was later identified as Alton Scott, who has 24 years of service for the MTA.

"If it wasn't for the doctor, he's not sure if he would have made it. We are extremely grateful for the quick thinking and actions of this doctor," said Demetrius Critchlow, the senior vice president for the Department of Subways.

Scott was treated for his injuries at Brookdale Hospital, getting 34 stitches before later being released. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information on the attack is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

"His first words to me were, 'I love my job, but, you know, I thought I was going to die,'" Critchlow said.

Police said Thursday no arrests have been made.

The slashing comes on the heels of new orange stanchions getting debuted this week to protect the front cabs amid a spike in violence that has seen three homicides in recent weeks. Over the weekend, a woman was followed off a train by a man police say tried to rape her in the subway station. He's still on the loose.

MTA officials have condemned the string of violence. The Transport Workers Union blasted the MTA after the attack, saying the incident was "a horrific example of the epic, decades-long failure by the MTA and Chairman Janno Lieber to protect transit workers."

"We stand ready to assist Local 100 as they confront this plague of violence - and transit executives who are either inept or indifferent to the harm inflicted on their own employees day and night," said TWU President John Samuelsen. "On workplace safety, the MTA has been an abysmal failure. Assaults against transit workers in the subway increased nearly 60% last year. Unlike Lieber, transit workers don’t travel with a dedicated and armed MTA Police squad.”

The union pleaded with the MTA to deploy members of the agency's 1,000-member police force — officers usually seen on the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad — to start patrolling the subway lines across the five boroughs.

Alina Ramirez, a union spokesperson, stressed that the union did not authorize any official work stoppage or slowdown, despite claims posted on social media.

She said members working on the subway line where the attack occurred reported for work as usual Thursday but remained “on standby” in the hours after the attack until they received safety assurances from transit management, as is typical following such incidents.

Ramirez said workers have since resumed normal operations on the subway line.

Richard Davis, the president of the TWU Local 100, said it was "an attempted murder this morning that was committed, not just a slashing."

Recent NYPD data paints a concerning picture, with 2023 seeing the highest number of subway assaults since at least 1996. Over that year, there were 570 assaults, marking a slight increase from the previous year and averaging about 1.5 incidents daily.

But NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said "progress" is being made. An infusion of 1,000 more officers into the subway system — done in a direct response to a January crime spike — led to a 17% reduction in crime in February, Kemper said.

Though for the year, subway crime is still up 13% compared to 2023, with assaults on the transit system up 11%. NYPD transit police are investigating 86 assaults, up from last year's 77. And three homicides in the first two months of the year mark a troubling start, especially when compared to 2023 at this time, when there were none.

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