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NYC subway rider burned after man allegedly threw flaming liquid on him. Here's more on the suspect.

Suspect in custody after man set on fire at subway station
Suspect in custody after man set on fire at subway station 01:25

NEW YORK -- A man is accused of setting a subway rider on fire on Saturday afternoon and the NYPD says he was behind a similar attack a few months ago.

Officers were called for an assault in progress on the 1 line platform at the Houston Street station and when they arrived saw 23-year-old Alijaj Petrit with his shirt off and badly burned.

Investigators say a homeless man, now identified as 49-year-old Nile Taylor, threw a flammable liquid on the victim for no reason and took off.

Taylor was arrested near the Holland Tunnel and is now facing charges, including attempted assault, reckless endangerment, and arson. Police said the victim is recovering at NewYork-Presbyterian and is expected to survive.

"This is horrifying," subway rider Chloe Leone said of the alleged attack.

Detectives say back in February Taylor threw a lit container of flammable liquid at a group of people standing on the southbound 1 train platform at the West 28th Street station. No one was hurt.

NYC cracking down on subway crimes

While violent crime is rare in the subway system, which serves about 3 million riders per day, there have been some high-profile attacks, including the death of a man who was shoved onto the tracks in East Harlem in March. 

Earlier this year, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced hundreds of National Guard members would be going into the subway system to boost security. The NYPD said 800 more officers would be deployed to the subway to crack down on fare evasion

At around the same time, city officials announced plans to use weapon-detection technology in the subway after they said crime in the transit system was up 4% in 2024 compared to 2023.

Subway riders say they are always on guard

Leone, like others who ride the rails, said she keeps her head on a swivel when underground.

"Hopefully, people are traveling in pairs so they can stay safe," Leone said. "I'm praying for the person burned. It's very tragic."

As for commuters who have no choice but to use the subways, "You just have to be alert and keep your eyes open," Leone said.

"Crazy stuff happens, everything. It's awful. I take this train a lot," another woman said. "We are in New York City. I feel like we are risking it every day."

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