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New York man who saved woman from subway mugging by scaring off would-be robber with warning shot arrested

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New York police have arrested a man who they say opened fire on a subway platform Tuesday night that scared off a would-be mugger who himself is facing attempted robbery charges.

No one was hurt in the altercation, which erupted after a 49-year-old homeless man allegedly tried to mug an unidentified 40-year-old woman near the exit. 

The NYPD arrested John Rote, 43, of Queens, on Wednesday afternoon, hours after asking for the public’s help tracking him down in connection with an altercation on the 49th Street NRW station platform the evening before.

Rote overheard Matthew Roesch, the mugging suspect, demanding the woman give him money, or he’d steal her purse, according to authorities.

ARMED VIGILANTE SAVES WOMAN FROM WOULD-BE ROBBER AT MAJOR TRANSIT HUB. POLICE SAY

Subway vigilante suspect leaves through turnstile

The New York City Police Department asked for the public’s assistance identifying the whereabouts of a man who they say thwarted a robbery attempt by firing off a gun inside a Manhattan subway station Tuesday evening. (NYPD)

Rote is accused of firing shots, interrupting the attempted robbery without striking anyone. Surveillance images show him calmly walking out through the turnstile, carrying a tote bag from a popular camera store, a green bookbag and a tablet.

Now he faces charges of criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a firearm and menacing.

Rote could not immediately be reached for comment.

“I want to be clear: we don’t tolerate this kind of conduct in NYC Transit, period,” the city’s top transit official, Richard Davey, said in a statement after Rote’s arrest. “Once again cameras recorded a perpetrator, and we are grateful the NYPD made an arrest within hours. Thank goodness nobody was hurt here – but what occurred was outrageous, reckless, and unacceptable.”

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NYC officials at scene of vigilante shooting

MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey and NYPD Inspector Steven Hill at the 49th Street Station on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, where an incident involving a “vigilante” occurred on the uptown platform Tuesday evening. (Marc A. Hermann/MTA)

Transit crime in the city has declined by 3.6% so far this year after surging during the coronavirus pandemic and anti-police protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They are 29% higher than they were in 2021 year-to-date, police statistics show.

Some of the attacks have been particularly brutal, with dozens of incidents of travelers being shoved from behind in front of moving subway cars.

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Last month, police arrested Sabir Jones, 39, after he allegedly pushed a 30-year-old woman into the side of a departing train at the nearby 53rd Street and 5th Avenue subway station. She suffered life-threatening injuries. He is a repeat offender known to police as suffering from mental health issues.

Over the last two years, 37 people have been shoved onto the subway tracks, according to FOX 5 New York – including the fatal 2020 shove of 40-year-old Michelle Go at the Times Square subway station.




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