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Police identify suspected NYC subway mugger killed Asian woman, 58

Police identified David Robinson, 52, as the suspected mugger who on July 17 attacked 58-Than Htwe in a Chinatown subway stop, placing her in a coma. She would die 10 days later

The 58-year-old Asian woman who fell into a coma after being attacked in the New York City subway on July 17 died from her injuries Wednesday as police identified her suspected mugger.

Than Htwe, an immigrant from Myanmar had been hospitalized since police say she was attacked by David Robinson, 52, who was trying to steal her son’s backpack at a Chinatown subway stop.

Her death marks the fourth murder in New York City’s subways this year.

‘The doctor took her off life support this morning at 7 a.m. and processed (her) for organ donation,’ a relative told the New York Daily News

Than’s family had been bracing for the end, and on Tuesday shut down a GoFundMe page to pay for her medical expenses.    

‘Our mother won’t make it,’ her son Kyaw Zaw Hein, 22, wrote on the page.

‘We have decided to donate her organs for those who are in need. I want to say thank you again to all the people who supported us through this very hard time.’

Htwe (left) 58, and her son, Kyaw Zaw Hein, 22 were rushed to Bellevue Hospital on the  morning of July 17, when Htwe underwent brain surgery. She died this morning from her injuries

Htwe (left) 58, and her son, Kyaw Zaw Hein, 22 were rushed to Bellevue Hospital on the  morning of July 17, when Htwe underwent brain surgery. She died this morning from her injuries

Hein (pictured) said his mother won't wake up, and the family plans to donate her organs

Hein (pictured) said his mother won’t wake up, and the family plans to donate her organs

Htwe and Hein were ascending a flight of stairs at Chinatown's Canal St. subway station at about 10:45 a.m. on July 17, when out of nowhere, Robinson crept up behind the two and attempted to steal Hein's backpack.

Htwe and Hein were ascending a flight of stairs at Chinatown’s Canal St. subway station at about 10:45 a.m. on July 17, when out of nowhere, Robinson crept up behind the two and attempted to steal Hein’s backpack. 

Donors were able to raise more than $48,000 for the family. 

Zaw Hein, again, urged anyone with any information involving the attack to contact the police. 

Htwe and her son were walking up the steps at Canal Street station around 10:45 a.m. when Robinson allegedly attacked them from behind, grabbing the son’s backpack.

Than Htwe, 58, had moved to New York from Myanmar in 2018 to be closer to her son Kyaw Zaw Hein, 22

Than Htwe, 58, had moved to New York from Myanmar in 2018 to be closer to her son Kyaw Zaw Hein, 22

As he yanked on Zaw Hein’s backpack, he tumbled backward. As he began to fall, he reached for his mom, who stumbled down with him.

Both were knocked unconscious in the fall. When Zaw Hein awoke, he said his mother was ‘lying on the floor with blood everywhere’, according to the GoFundMe post. 

Hein was not seriously hurt, but his mother hit her head and was critically injured. 

They were rushed to Bellevue Hospital Saturday morning, where Htwe underwent brain surgery.

Htwe had moved to New York from Myanmar in 2018 to be closer to her son, as well as their extended family. 

Shortly after the incident, police released a photo of the suspect (pictured) and asked that anyone who recognizes him to call police.

Shortly after the incident, police released a photo of the suspect (pictured) and asked that anyone who recognizes him to call police.

Police are investigating whether the attack was racially motivated amid the recent spike in crimes targeting Asian and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. 

On Wednesday, Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, noted that the death marked the fourth murder in NYC’s subways in 2021, and the 11th since the beginning of 2020.

‘In a normal full year, before COVID, with more than [sic] twice the ridershi, we would have one or two murder each year. Last Year, we had seven. There is no indication we will get back to normal soon,’ she tweeted. 

Upon Htwe's death, Nicole Gelinas a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute noted that it marked the fourth murder in NYC's subways in 2021

Upon Htwe’s death, Nicole Gelinas a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute noted that it marked the fourth murder in NYC’s subways in 2021

Htwe’s attack roughly coincided with another in the subways on July 15, when a man was caught on surveillance video sucker punching a 60-year-old woman in the back of the head at the Grand Central subway station. 

In that attack, the woman suffered minor injuries, and overall crime appears to have tapered off in the subways starting in early June and through July. 

The woman, wearing an orange shirt can be seen walking down the 7 Train platform at 10.13pm police reported, when a man, who is initially casually walking behind her suddenly runs up to her, and slams a closed fist into the back of her head. 

Htwe's attack came around the same time as another in New York City's subways on July 15 as an unidentified assailant was seen sucker punching a woman in the back of the head

Htwe’s attack came around the same time as another in New York City’s subways on July 15 as an unidentified assailant was seen sucker punching a woman in the back of the head

Police said the unidentified assailant then fled on the northbound 5 train. They are still seeking the public’s help identifying him. 

Both incidents came as crime in the city’s subways dropped in June amid a surge in police presence.

As of the week of July 25, the latest crime statistics available from the NYPD, crimes taking place in the city’s subways dropped 25.8 percent from the same period last year, with 830 reported in 2021 as opposed to 1,119 in 2020. 

Additionally, a total of 111 felonies in the subways were reported in June, compared to 168 the previous month according to recently released NYPD data, the New York Post reported. 

Taking into account ridership, felonies dropped from 2.87 per million riders in May to 1.77 felonies per million riders in June. 

Felony assaults in the subways, which had nearly doubled from 37 in April to 65 in May, dropped to 14 in June. 

The drop came as there were 223 felony assaults recorded in the subway system in the first five months of 2021, which was higher than any year since 1997,  the Post also reported.

The attacks came as violent crimes across the city continue to spike. Overall crimes, however, are down .4% this past week

The attacks came as violent crimes across the city continue to spike. Overall crimes, however, are down .4% this past week 

The drop in crime in the city’s subways appeared to coincide with a decision by Mayor Bill DeBlasio in late May to assign 125 additional officers to stations during morning and evening rush hours after weeks of pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Overall, however, New York City has seen an uptick in violent crimes in recent months, with many worrying that the city is sliding back to the dark days of the ’70s and ’80s when it was known as ‘Fear City’. In the 1970s, the city faced $10 billion in debt and funds were cut to the police and other services. 

NYPD data shows that shootings spiked 18.8 percent in 2021 compared to last year as of July 25, its most recent data. There have been 867 shooting incidents in 2021 compared to 730 in 2020.

Shooting victims are also up 13.4 percent year over year, with people falling victim to gun crime compared to 846 by this time last year.

The number of murders also rose from 226 to 233 in the same timeframe – a 3 percent rise. 

The biggest leap in crime rates continues to be for hate crimes, which has surged by 110 percent in the last year. This data comes amid numerous random attacks on Asian Americans in the city, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


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