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Exclusive: Family Of Jermaine Foster, Suspect In Death Of Nurse Maria Ambrocio, Speaks Out; 'It's So Heartbreaking'

IRVINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork)A beloved nurse who died after being knocked over by a suspected mugger in Times Square will be remembered Monday during a memorial Mass.

Now we're hearing from a family member of the man charged with the nurse's murder.

As CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reports, Orrett montague  remains in shock. His stepson, 26-year-old Jermaine Foster is charged with murder in connection with the death of 58-year-old Maria Ambrocio.

"He's never gotten into trouble of this sort," he said. "I feel so bad for them... I know, it's so heartbreaking."

Maria Ambrocio (Photo provided)

Ambrocio, a longtime oncology nurse at Bayonne Medical Center, was in Times Square Friday afternoon with friends when police allege Foster plowed into her outside a pizzeria while running away after stealing another woman's phone moments before.

Ambrocio was pushed. She fell and cracked her skull, and later died.

Sources say Foster took off but was arrested minutes later, adding he was also involved in a home invasion robbery shortly before at a woman's apartment nearby, as well as a groping incident in Midtown last month.

"Stealing a phone? That's impossible. He has his phone. He's not that type of guy," Montague said. "Since he was a religious man."

His family says Foster suffers from mental illness and has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals since he was a teenager. They add his situation worsened when his father, who he lived with in Brooklyn, died of COVID during the pandemic.

The family is sure he must have been off his medication to do something like this.

Times Square Push Suspect Jermaine Foster
Jermaine Foster 26, is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court for the death of Maria Ambrocio, 58. It is reported that Foster was fleeing the scene of a crime he had just committed on Oct. 8, 2021 when he ran into Ambrocio, knocking her over in Times Square. (credit: Curtis Means/DailyMail/Pool)

"Any time he's not on his medication he doesn't think right," Montague said. "When his dad died from COVID-19, he was left alone."

Foster's family says he is not a violent person and has no prior record beyond this incident and what happened last month. They want more resources to help those with mental illness.

As for Ambrocio, her family says knowing Foster suffers from mental illness or is homeless is little consolation.

"Heartbroken yes and angry. I'm angry for that person who did this to my sister. We want justice," said Ambrocio's brother Carlito Sta Maria.

Foster's next court date is on Thursday.

Kiran Dhillan contributed to this report. 

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