An award-winning actress was “suddenly paralyzed” when she was pushed from behind onto a Manhattan subway train in an apparently random attack, her family said.
Emine Yilmaz Ozsoy, 35, sustained critical injuries when her alleged attacker forcefully pushed her head into the side of a moving train at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street around 6 a.m. Sunday.
Kamal Semrade, 39, appeared in court for arraignment on charges of attempted murder and assault on Wednesday.
The victim’s husband, Ferdi Ozsoy, released a statement on Wednesday to say that Ms Ozsoy’s life had been “deeply affected by this terrible act of violence”.
“But of course, faith and hope never end,” he said. “He’s still young. She is a strong woman. He is creative. He has empathy. He is a warrior. He is a true friend who tries to help people.
Mr Ozsoy said the alleged attack highlighted the “urgent need for development within the MTA”.
“It’s important for the mayor (Eric Adams) to recognize that prioritizing the safety and security of the city’s residents is essential to their well-being—and prosperity,” he said.
“We must ensure the ability to protect individuals, including loved ones like my wife.”
Prosecutors allege that Ms Ozsoy and Mr Semrade boarded the same subway train at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Queens on Sunday morning.
They both got off the train at Lexington and 63 St on the Upper East Side of Manhattan when Ms Ozsoy was blinded from behind in the alleged attack.
According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Semrade walked behind her on the platform, and as the subway car began to move, he “grabbed her head with both hands and pushed her with all his might into the moving subway.” car”, reports NBC.
“The victim was hit by the train and his face and head were rolled by it. (He) then crashed back onto the stage where he was immediately paralyzed,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Carolyn McGuigan said in court, according to NY Post.
He suffered a cervical spine fracture, broken fingers and damage to four blood vessels, the prosecutor said.
It is not known if any words were exchanged between the pair, but the NYPD described the attack as unprovoked.
On her website, Ms Ozsoy is described as a Turkish-born designer and illustrator whose work has been published in leading magazines and newspapers.
She moved to New York in 2017 with her US-born husband.
“We took the opportunity. We want to start a new life,” Mr Oszoy said in the statement.
Ms Ozsoy works in a cafe and wants to “build a community in NYC, where she can recognize the faces of local people,” her husband said.
A GoFundme fundraising page set up to help the family with medical bills has received $125,000 in donations.
“The doctors initially informed us that he had a small chance to recover from the movement below the neck. In just one day, he challenged that prognosis by moving his arms,” Mr Ozsoy wrote on the page.
“This is a big step, but his road to recovery is long and challenging. He is a fighter and has fought to recover. He will get there, but he needs everyone’s help.”