While minding her business, checking emails on her phone and preparing to get home on an uptown 6 train, Heather Burke, 39, received the shock of her life when a woman lunged at her and stabbed her repeatedly as she sat in confusion and fear. She had never seen the woman before. She hadn’t had an awkward exchange with her on the train aside from a glance. She hadn’t bumped into her or done anything to her at all that she could recall. However, the woman, 31-year-old suspect Ashley Jacob, a homeless woman with psychological problems, singled Burke out and decided she was going to go after her with a steak knife.
“She didn’t run, she didn’t jump or say anything. She just started stabbing me…I’ve never seen so much blood. I thought I was going to die.
When I crawled away, people were jumping on her and she was stabbing at everyone. She was crazy. She was out of her mind.”
Burke says that Jacob stabbed her in her stomach and shoulder, but because Burke had a leather bag in front of her chest while she was sitting, she was able to keep from being fatally stabbed. Eventually, Jacob stopped and Burke stumbled out of the train car, bleeding, looking for help. Though some passengers watched the horrifying scene occur and tried to intervene, when doors to the train opened at a stop, many ran out screaming. That’s when 45-year-old Charles Williams (a black man by the way), a street cleaner tidying up the station at the time, heard that a woman was being attacked. He decided to step in and do what he could to help and wound up grabbing Jacob and pulled her down to the ground. Here’s what he told the New York Daily News.
“Everybody was going out. Nobody was going in. I’m tired of senseless killings. I ran down.
Me and another dude grabbed her. She was trying to kick and scream. I didn’t want her to get loose and stab someone else. I feel great. I did a good deed.
My sisters, my daughter and granddaughter ride the subways all the time. It could have been them.”
According to reports, Jacob basically went on a violent spree on that 6 train, because before stabbing Burke, she punched a 19-year-old girl in the face for no reason. Her mother, Jedy Hernandez told the New York Daily News that her daughter told her she doesn’t feel comfortable taking the train anymore.
As for Burke, she had to undergo surgery, but will be physically be okay. And as for the suspect, Jacob was arrested and taken in for psychiatric evaluation. Charges are pending.
This whole situation is just horrifying, and as someone who rides public transportation to do every single thing, it reminds me of how aware I have to be of those around me at all times. Thank goodness for people like Charles Williams, who stepped in to stop this woman when he easily could have ran for his life like everyone else. As he stated, he definitely “did a good deed.”
How do you keep yourself safe and aware while riding public transportation?