It was a horrifying incident that could have been so much worse had it not been for the heroic action of a passerby who chose to jump in and help a woman and her baby while others stood idly by.
On Sunday, 30-year-old Anna Martinez was attacked by 53-year-old Jacqueline Sanjurjo on a New York City subway. Martinez, who was traveling with her 18-month-old son, required surgery and 30 stitches after Sanjurjo, a homeless woman with some 60 prior arrests, slashed her across the face. The attack happened as the downtown 5 train the women were both riding pulled into Grand Central Terminal.
As ABC7 reported:
Martinez got on the subway at 125th Street Sunday with her 18-month-old son. The suspect followed her through the gate… Martinez sat down and the suspect sat across from her.
As the train approached Grand Central, the doors opened.
According to police, the suspect got up from her seat, approached the victim and without saying a word, swung at her face.
The victim caught her hand, and the suspect grabbed her hair, investigators said.
The suspect then fled the train and ran through Grand Central. When the victim left the train, she realized she had an injury.
Sanjurjo was able to make it out of Grand Central and across town before police apprehended her. She is being held without bail and has been charged with two counts of assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
Martinez, who has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, spoke to ABC7 about the harrowing event that she believes could have had an even more devastating outcome had it not been the kindness of a stranger.
“She cut me, then she had a hold of my hair,” Martinez explained. “My hair was straight at the time. She had a hold of my hair, I am holding my hand, that’s why I got cut here, and she’s holding my hair down on the floor. I am screaming, ‘Get off of me’. The guy cracked her and got her off me. That’s when I got out of the train and then she got out of the train and was just standing there.”
Martinez didn’t know the name of the man who intervened and came to her and her son’s rescue, which prompted the local news channel to put out a tweet on Tuesday asking the public for help finding him.
We're looking for the Good Samaritan who helped a slashing victim at Grand Central. Help us find him so he gets the recognition he deserves! pic.twitter.com/D1Tm8turyE
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) May 30, 2017
“I just want to say thank you so much, cause he doesn’t know me but he was there,” she said of the Good Samaritan, who has since been identified as Juan Peters. After pulling the attacker off Martinez, Peters stayed at the scene and cradled her shaken child until authorities arrived.
In an interview with ABC7, Peters, who had been in Grand Central with his wife on Sunday, remained humble in discussing his actions and encouraged his fellow New Yorkers to think twice the next time they see someone in distress.
“You tell Anna that there is angel out there,” said Peters. “Be an angel, don’t look for angels, I’m glad I was able to be there because it could have been crazy.”
“I think if everyone would take the step to help someone without second guessing,” he continued, “[the world] would be a better place.”
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