NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police released a surveillance image Thursday, showing a suspect who they said is wanted for slashing and robbing a woman riding the subway in Brooklyn.
As CBS2's Raegan Medgie reported, officers were patrolling the Nostrand Avenue subway platform in Bedford-Stuyvesant Thursday afternoon. About two dozen officers filed into the station in search of the assailant who attacked a passenger on a C Train heading in bound just before 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The attacker and the victim did not know each other.
"That's terrible, terrible," said Joseph Greaves of Bedford-Stuyvesant. "People can't travel on the train and be safe."
"That's why when I got off, I looked around to see if I see anything – but no," said Patricia Samb of Harlem.
"I live in the area and that's disturbing," said Queen Bey of Crown Heights. "I have little ones, so of course."
Police said the 51-year-old woman was sitting on the train looking at her cellphone when the man came up to her, grabbed her phone, punched her in the face, and cut her.
The suspect then ran to another subway car and got off at the next stop, police said.
Witnesses described a swarm of emergency responders and police arriving, searching the platform area and trying to trace the suspect.
"Five minutes after the incident happened, police started arriving, helicopters came there," witness Joel Cabrera said. "All doing their investigators on their part."
Police say the woman was slashed from her left ear all the way to her lip and received 26 stitches, CBS2's Raegan Medgie reported.
"I'm fine," the victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Medgie. "I should be going."
On the C Train, sitting about three feet away from the victim was a 32-year-old witness. She saw the entire attack.
So when the man got off the train, she chased after him. She got up to the turnstiles and lost him.
But the witness was still able to help police. She provided a detailed description and was able to identify a man who appeared in surveillance video as the assailant.
"I hope they catch him. God knows, safety, is crazy, said Stephanie Nief of Brooklyn "At least you all got a clear picture too."
Police describe the suspect as a black man between the ages of 25 and 30, 5'11" to 6' tall and between 250 and 300 pounds with a beard. He was last seen wearing a red hooded jacket and black jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
for more features.