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Subway death suspect blames victim

10:05 AM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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Naeem Davis (Courtesy NBC New York)

NEW YORK -- The 30-year-old former deli worker charged with shoving a man to his death as a train barreled into a Times Square subway station says the victim instigated the confrontation.

Naeem Davis was arraigned Wednesday night on a second-degree murder charge and ordered held without bail in the death of 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han on Monday.

As he walked past reporters, Davis said, "He attacked me first. He grabbed me."

Law enforcement sources have said Davis made statements to detectives implicating himself in the deadly push.

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Prosecutor James Lin told the judge that Davis watched the train strike Han before leaving the station.

"This defendant never once offered any aid as the train approached the station. In fact, this defendant watched the train hit the victim. And according to witnesses, he then calmly put his coat back on, picked up his cup of coffee and left the station, seemingly indifferent to the welfare or fate of the victim," Lin said.

Davis' Legal Aid lawyer, Stephen Pokart, said outside court that his client "was involved in an incident with a man who was drunk and angry."

Davis is due back in court on Dec. 11.

A wake was held for Han at the Edward D. Jamie Funeral Chapel in Flushing, Queens and the funeral was scheduled for Thursday morning.

A bystander recorded part of the fight between the two men and turned the video over to police. The man who allegedly pushed Han is heard cursing and saying, in substance, "Leave me alone... stand in line, wait for the R train and that's it."

He then pushed Han onto the tracks, police said. Han tried to climb back up onto the platform but died after getting trapped between the train and the platform's edge.

Han's family spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday. Daughter Ashley Han, a 20-year-old Hunter College student, said: "I just really wish I had one last chance to tell my dad how much I love him."

Asked Wednesday if she wished someone would have helped pull her father off the tracks, Han said it was difficult to dwell on the past.

"Yeah, the thought of someone helping him up in a matter of seconds would have been great... what happened has happened," she said.

The Q train operator, Terrence Legree, told the Daily News he saw a man on the tracks and tried to pull the emergency brakes on the train, but couldn't stop it in time. Even after he heard the sound of the train hitting the man and the locomotive screeched to a halt, Legree said he jumped out of the control booth and tried to help the victim.

"If someone can be saved, you have to do what you have to do," Legree, a 21-year employee with the MTA, told the News. But Han couldn't be saved -- a tragic fact that had Legree struggling with a range of emotions and questions more than a day after the man's death.

"All kinds of emotions from 'Why is this happening?' to 'Why was that guy down there?' to 'What happened?'" Legree told the News. He was treated for shock after the incident.

The suspect's last known address was in a working-class neighborhood in Queens. The only neighbor who even vaguely remembered Davis was Charles Dawes, 80, who stays with his son two doors down.

Davis "came and went, came and went, and he always looked serious," Dawes said. "But I haven't seen him for three or four months."

Subway pushes are unusual. Among the more high-profile was the January 1999 death of Kendra Webdale. A former mental patient admitted he shoved her to her death.

Following that, the state Legislature passed Kendra's Law, which lets mental health authorities supervise patients who live outside institutions to make sure they are taking their medications and aren't a threat to safety.

(NBC New York)

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