NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Friends and family of Michelle Go, who was pushed to her death Saturday in the subway, spoke out Monday.
"She was funny, she was smart... She just did everything right," said Go's neighbor Olivia Henderson.
When the NYPD came knocking on Henderson's Upper West Side apartment Saturday, she refused to believe something bad had happened to her friend.
"I was just like this is wrong, this doesn't add up, you have the wrong person," Henderson said. "When she renewed her lease we like had a party because she was wonderful."
Go died Saturday morning when 61-year-old Martial Simon pushed her into an oncoming train at the Times Square station, according to police.
In a statement, her family said, "She was a beautiful, brilliant, kind, and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends... Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence, and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves."
A vigil to remember Go is planned Tuesday.
Go, 40, an Upper West Side businesswoman, spent her last 10 years with the New York Junior League helping at risk individuals get back on their feet, CBS2's Christina Fan reported.
"It's a tragic loss of life of someone who was giving back to the New York City community," said Dayna Cassidy of the New York Junior League.
The suspect allegedly tried to shove another women on the same platform before he fatally shoved Go.
"It doesn't make a difference. It could be me, it could be anybody," said subway rider Susan Freidman.
"I'm always worried about getting pushed onto the train tracks," said Bryan Su, who lives in the East Village.
"You have to always have your eyes open, for everything," said Jordan Thomas of East Elmhurst.
Maria Coste-Weber, who witnessed the attack, said she will never be able to shake it from her memory.
"Just seconds, the train passed, the impact, and she went right in front of it, and then you saw her disappear from the tracks," she told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon in an exclusive interview.
Hours after Go's death, Mayor Eric Adams insisted the subway is still safe.
"When you have an incident like this, the perception is what we're fighting against. This is a safe system," Adams said.
But the latest police data shows transit crimes are up 41% over the last month citywide, and up 65% in 2021 so far, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.
There were 30 subway shoving incidents in 2021 compared to 26 in 2020, according to the NYPD.
Bauman tried to ask the mayor about the stats.
"Is the perception the issue when the transit numbers show that subway crime is up?" Bauman asked.
"I have to get on a Zoom. Watch your fingers," the mayor said closing his car door.
"I feel like he's trying to give us the runaround. Safety is safety at the end of the day," said John Carlos of Washington Heights.
Earlier in January, Adams rolled out his plan for tackling crime and homelessness in the subway.
"There is a feeling of hope that things will get better with the new administration, I think. But I have not seen it yet," said Marie Abraham of Long Island.
Simon has four prior arrests and a record of three emotionally disturbed incidents.
"I'd like to ask Mayor Adams and the rest of the city to think really deeply about mental health reform. I agree with the voices out there that say it is inhumane to take mentally ill people and put them in jail for the rest of their lives. At the same time, it's a very hard issue, but letting them back out on the street to reoffend, to cause more violence is also unacceptable," said Ben Wei, founder of Asians Fighting Injustice.
Over the phone, Simon's sister told Bauman, "My brother, I feel like, why did they let him out? He's mentally ill. Why was he let out?"
Simon is in the hospital and awaiting arraignment on a second degree murder charge. Sources told CBS2 police are not charging him with a hate crime because Go was wearing a hood; it's unclear if Simon saw her face.
Go worked for Deloitte and had a bachelor's degree in economics and public policy from UCLA, as well as an MBA from New York University.
CBS2's Christina Fan contributed to this report.
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