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Suspect in custody after firing shots while interrupting attempted robbery on NYC subway platform, sources say

Suspect in custody after opening fire on subway platform
Suspect in custody after opening fire on subway platform 02:00

NEW YORK -- A suspect who allegedly opened fire to interrupt an attempted robbery on a subway platform Tuesday night is now in custody, sources told CBS New York. 

Police said it happened at 9:13 p.m. at the 49th Street N, R, W subway station in Manhattan, near Times Square.

No one was injured.

There's no word yet of any charges for the alleged gunman.   

Sources say he's 43, and was taken into custody after police received a tip to CrimeStoppers identifying him as the man in the video. He was arrested Wednesday at his job in Manhattan. 

Matthew Roesch, 49, allegedly tried to rob a 40-year-old woman, demanding her bag, according to police.

That's when police say another straphanger went vigilante: He saw the altercation, and pulled out a gun and fired two shots.

Roesch was allegedly a "swiper," meaning a person who swipes people through MetroCard turnstiles for tips, New York City Transit President Richard Davey said.

"There was an interaction, an argument, with a customer. Looks like he attempted to steal her purse. We had another customer decide to pull out a gun and try to intervene," Davey said. "It's, I would say, unusual. He sort of looks very calm, pulls out a gun, fires two shots, calmly puts the gun back in a bag, and walks away.... . I mean, it is weird. But the point is that's not what we need from anyone in the system."

Roesch was taken into custody by responding officers and charged with attempted robbery.

"Let's unpack what is wrong with all of this," Davey said. 

Davey mentioned fare evasion, and said that the "swiper" was known to police.

"Finally, you know, this individual, rather than pulling out a cellphone and calling the police -- by the way, the police, when they were alerted, were here within minutes," Davey said. "We don't tolerate this in New York City Transit, period. We have the purse snatcher/swiper in custody. We'll get this guy in custody as well. Thank goodness nobody was hurt in this instance. I am just here to tell New Yorkers, our customers, that this type of behavior -- misbehavior -- will not be tolerated."

Davey called it "totally beyond the pale," adding he has seen video of the incident.

Commuter advocates said the city created the unsafe environment that led to the incident.

"It never should have been this way. No one should ever feel like they have to pull out a weapon to defend themselves or someone else," said Jack Nierenberg, vice president of Passengers United.

The MTA said it's cracking down on fare evasion, writing tens of thousands of summonses this year. Last year, the city also increased the number of officers underground, adding 1,200 daily overtime shifts. 

Overall, crime in the transit system is down 3.6%.  

Mayor Eric Adams signed a law last year declaring Times Square a gun-free zone, making it illegal to carry concealed weapons in the area.

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