By Ginny Reed and Sandy Malone
Brooklyn, NY - An 18-year-old bipolar and schizophrenic man, who was off his medication, punched a 65-year-old man on a subway platform on Wednesday, knocking him onto the tracks, and ultimately killing him.
Jacinto Suarez, 65, of Staten Island, was waiting for an R train when the mentally-unstable Edward Cordero approached him. The two men did not know each other, police said.
Cordero was ranting incoherently, and Suarez extended his arm to keep the teenager away, according to witnesses who told police.
“He was talking to himself. He then approached this male and the male asked him to get away, to back off,” New York Police Department (NYPD) Transit Bureau Assistant Chief Vincent Coogan said.
“He did turn around, start to walk away. At this point he then came back and punched the male," Chief Coogan said.
Witnesses said Cordero punched Suarez, causing the older man to fall down onto the subway tracks.
Bystanders jumped down and pulled Suarez off the track, and a witness flagged down a police officer at the station.
The teenager’s family told the New York Daily News that Cordero had been terrorizing them for a long time, and had recently stopped taking medicine for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
“He was supposed to be on three different medications but he's run out and refuses to get more,” Cordero’s sister, Daribel Lugones, said.
“He doesn't go to school. He attacks members of our family,” Lugones said.
His 23-year-old sister told The New York Daily News that Cordero had cut her with a Christmas ornament and slammed her cat the day before he attacked Suarez.
“He was here last night. He was screaming ‘The devil is alive’ all night long,” Lugones said.
“He's paranoid. He's very secretive. He believes he's somebody famous,” she said.
Police were expected to transport Cordero to Bellevue for psychiatric evaluation after they finished interviewing him, but his sister said he’d already been in that facility.
“They had him in Bellevue and they released him without our consent,” Lugones said.
She said she felt terrible for the family of her little brother’s victim.
“I don't know what to say to that poor man's family. If it were our grandfather I'd be lost. I'm sorry for that man's family. I can only send our condolences,” Lugones said.
“I hope they keep him in Bellevue,” she said of her younger brother. “That's the end for him.”
Suarez was survived by 10 children and 13 grandchildren.
Suarez’s family said he was on his way home from inquiring about his Social Security benefits when he was attacked.
“My dad don’t bother nobody. I don’t know why anybody would do that to him. He went, he came home. I’m not gonna have him here anymore,” Tylenea Gonzalez told the New York Daily News.
“He’s a pain in the butt,” Gonzalez said of her dad from their Staten Island home. “But he’s a sweetheart. He helped me with my kids when I was working.”
Police believe someone used their smartphone to record the Good Samaritans who came to the victim's aid, and said detectives wanted to speak with the person who had recorded that video.
They also wanted to interview the bystanders who pulled the man off the tracks, and asked them to come forward, according to WABC.