The grandson of an elderly woman cruelly shoved off a Brooklyn subway platform by an enraged smoker says he now wishes he didn’t yell at the assailant for lighting up.
Henry Cheng, 30, was with his grandparents Monday afternoon when he saw a man puffing a cigarette on the Manhattan-bound C train platform at the Clinton/Washington Aves. station in Fort Greene.
Cheng, who didn’t want his elderly grandparents exposed to the fumes in the closed space, hollered at the man to snuff out the cigarette butt — sending the smoker into a rage that left Cheng with a dislocated jaw, and his 73-year-old grandmother, Bi He, tumbling to the train tracks below.
An oncoming train stopped just a few feet short of the elderly woman, Cheng said — but the fall left his grandmother with a foot injury that required surgery, and bleeding in her skull.
His grandfather, Ren Bao, 82, was also left with a bloodied face after being knocked to the ground in the fray. He was released from the hospital Monday night.
“I feel guilty. At the end of the day, I caused the guy to run at us like that,” Cheng told the Daily News on Wednesday from New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where his grandmother is still in the ICU recovering. “I put most of the blame on myself for putting them in that situation…I should know better after 30 years in this city.”
“I’m not really worried about myself right now,” added Cheng, who may need surgery on his jaw. “I care more about my grandparents.”
Cops were still on the hunt for the attacker, who was last seen wearing green khaki pants, a black zip-up and a backward-facing baseball cap as he walked on the sidewalk near the Fort Greene subway stop, according to surveillance footage released by police.
“I didn’t think he’d respond like that,” Cheng said of the assailant. “Most people would have been like, ‘F*** you’ or something, but this guy seemed a little off.”
The drama began at around 1:45 p.m. Monday when Cheng, He and Bao, all of the Lower East Side, were on their way home from a Medicaid appointment in Brooklyn.
Cheng first saw the man smoking about 20 feet away from where they were waiting for the train, and decided to take action.
“It pissed me off. This guy was smoking in an enclosed space during a pandemic,” he said.
He shouted at the man to stop — and before he knew it, the assailant was in full-sprint down the platform, making a beeline right for him.