At least 500 additional police officers will be stationed throughout New York City’s subway system after a homeless man’s weekend killing spree left two dead and two injured, the New York Post reported Sunday.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) requested an additional 1,000 NYPD officers to police the transit system and provide mental health care services on top of the 500 assigned by the NYPD in response to the weekend’s events, according to a letter from transit officials to city leaders.
Rigoberto Lopez, 21, was identified as the suspected “A-Train Ripper” after deadly weekend attacks on the subway, the Post reported.
“The fact is that we all see a disturbing trend above ground and below ground, which as you know began prior to the pandemic, and now has been exacerbated by the acute mental health crisis we are facing,” MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye and NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg said in a statement.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) February 13, 2021
Lopez was hospitalized at least twice for mental health issues and has four previous arrests for an alleged assault against his father and a police officer, the Post reported. He was covered in blood and in possession of the murder weapon at the time of his arrest on Sunday.
“I’m not going to get into motive, but what I can tell you is they were all unprovoked attacks,’’ NYPD Chief Brian McGee said, the Post reported. “The victims had nothing, didn’t initiate anything.”
Murder and rape rates on the subway doubled in 2020 and instances of felony assault increased by nearly 27%, according to Foye and Feinberg.
“The fact is that we all see a disturbing trend above ground and below ground, which as you know began prior to the pandemic, and now has been exacerbated by the acute mental health crisis we are facing,” Foye and Feinberg said in a statement.
Officials requested an increase in police presence on the system over a year ago, according to Foye and Feinberg. MTA officials urged city leaders to expand the 311 services to the transit system to help people seeking mental resources.
Neither the NYPD or the MTA responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.