William Blount NYC homeless man arrested in Queens subway hammer attack of Nina Rothschild last week. Suspect has extensive rap sheet going back to the 1980’s.
NYPD authorities on Sunday announced the arrest of a 57 year old man with an extensive rap sheet in connection to the violent attack of a woman during a subway robbery in Queens last week which involved the victim being pushed down subway stairs, kicked and repeatedly battered with a hammer.
William Blount, 57 of NYC was arrested and charged with attempted murder, robbery, and assault. Of note, Blount who was homeless and living in shelters, had an extensive rap sheet going back to the 1980’s.
Nina Rothschild, 57, was attacked just after 11:20 p.m. on February 24 by a hammer-wielding suspect who followed her as she walked into a subway station in Long Island City.
The assault, which was caught on security video (see below), saw Rothschild being pushed from behind while descending subway stairs at Queens Plaza from a street entrance along with kicked and mercilessly struck up to 13 times with the hammer. The incident left her in critical condition at New York-Presbyterian Hospital with a fractured skull and lacerations to her head. The victim was expected to survive.
Police say the suspect took her purse before fleeing the scene. Blount allegedly stole two cellphones, debit cards, credit cards and an unknown amount of money from Rothschild, according to police.
Suspect extensive rap sheet
Rothschild, a senior scientist for the NYC Health Department, had just left work and was heading home when she was attacked.
At the time of the attack, Rothschild according to her brother had pleaded for her attacker to stop.
‘She kept screaming, ‘Stop! Stop!’ but the person either wouldn’t stop,’ Gerson Rothschild told ABC-TV.
Blount, whose last known address is in Astoria, has a half-dozen prior arrests — including on charges of robbery and criminal possession of a controlled substance, sources told the nypost.
Records show he served time in the late 1980s for attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance.
Police said that Blount lives at 52 William St. in Manhattan, the address of the former Radisson Hotel, which has been converted into a homeless shelter at the start of the pandemic.
In the aftermath of the attack, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi released the a statement:
Rising spikes in violent crime in NYC
‘Our thoughts are with Nina and her family following this horrific incident. Nina has worked tirelessly in service to her fellow New Yorkers and she is truly a public health hero. The Health Department and I will do everything we can to support her in her recovery-and we ask that all New Yorkers keep her and her family in their thoughts while respecting their privacy during this difficult time.’
The incident, which is the latest episode, one of many in ongoing crimes in NYC’s subways led to NYC Mayor Eric Adams pledging to deploy specialized teams to provide services to people experiencing mental health issues or homelessness across the city, along with adding more NYPD officers to the trains to keep riders safe and several other changes.
‘The subway plan is a comprehensive civic strategy that will do more than a temporary fix,’ Adams said.
‘I hear it every time I’m on the subway system – people tell me about their fear of using the system, and we’re going to ensure that fear is not New York’s reality,’ Adams said about the plan.
Of disconcert, transit crime spiked 75.2% in NYC last month over January 2021, according to NYPD statistics. There were 485 murders in New York City in 2021, the highest total in 10 years. There were also more than 1,500 shootings, the highest in 15 years and double the number just two years ago according to a recent NYPD release of gathered statistics.