Homeless ‘mugger’ faces murder charges ‘after he fatally slammed into cancer nurse in Times Square’

A homeless mugging suspect accused of killing a cancer nurse by shoving her to the ground as he fled a crime scene faces murder charges – and was freed on a groping allegation just last month.   

Jermaine Foster, 26, was suspected in two robberies within two hours near crime-riddled Times Square and was sprinting away from one crime scene when he barreled into Maria Ambrocio. He now faces murder charges after Ambrocio was taken off life support – with the NYPD also revealing that Foster was arrested for groping a woman in Midtown Manhattan last month, but later freed. 

Ambrocio, a 58-year-old oncology nurse from Bayonne in New Jersey, was preparing to see her family for the first time since the pandemic began, but was confirmed dead Saturday night after fighting for her life at Bellevue Hospital. 

Ambrocio was making her way through the Crossroads of the World after stopping at the Philippines Consulate in Midtown when Foster bowled her over while allegedly fleeing the scene of a crime.

Jermaine Foster (pictured) is facing murder charges in the death of a New Jersey cancer nurse who he allegedly slammed headfirst into the pavement while fleeing a robbery

Jermaine Foster (pictured) is facing murder charges in the death of a New Jersey cancer nurse who he allegedly slammed headfirst into the pavement while fleeing a robbery

Jermaine Foster (pictured) is facing murder charges in the death of a New Jersey cancer nurse who he allegedly slammed headfirst into the pavement while fleeing a robbery

Foster, 26, swiped a 29-year-old woman’s phone at nearby West 41st Street and Broadway, police said. As Foster fled, he knocked down Ambrocio, who suffered head trauma, according to the New York Post.  

‘They just pulled the plug on her. She’s gone,’ Maria Ambrocio’s brother Carlito Spa Maria said Saturday night. 

Carlito had previously said that Maria ‘doesn’t have much time,’ her blood pressure is dropping and she is ‘brain dead.’ 

Just a month before slamming into Ambrocio, Foster was charged with forcible touching after he allegedly groped a woman’s buttocks on West 36th Street and Broadway, according to police. Foster was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation – the same facility where Ambrocio died – but the suspected murderer was released shortly after.  

The senseless tragedy comes as the city’s crime rate continues to soar, with many blaming the violence on a court system that has gone soft on criminals. 

Maria Ambrocio, 58, was walking through Times Square Friday afternoon when she was bowled over by Foster

Maria Ambrocio, 58, was walking through Times Square Friday afternoon when she was bowled over by Foster

Maria Ambrocio, 58, was walking through Times Square Friday afternoon when she was bowled over by Foster

Ambrocio, 58, had just been to the Phillippines Consulate in Midtown Manhattan and was headed home after lunch

Ambrocio, 58, had just been to the Phillippines Consulate in Midtown Manhattan and was headed home after lunch

Ambrocio, 58, had just been to the Phillippines Consulate in Midtown Manhattan and was headed home after lunch

 A nurse who worked with Ambrocio, 70-year-old Emilia Cruz, said she was walking with her as Foster knocked her down. 

‘There were lots of people and we were trying to maneuver,’ Cruz said. ‘I heard a big thump like something hit the concrete and, you know, it was loud so I said ‘Wow, oh My God. What’s that?’ and I looked down and I saw her blouse, I didn’t see the face and I said, ‘Oh my God, Ning,’ I call her Ning,’ Cruz said.

‘I said ‘Ning, what happened? Wake up,’ and she was out,’ she added. ‘She was already unconscious. She is not answering me. I keep picking her up. She was frothing from her mouth. And I said, ‘Call 911.’ 

Cruz said Ambrocio was married and had step-children and loved music, traveling and most of all, helping people. 

“She is like a sister to me, a younger sister. She’s a good nurse, an excellent nurse,” Cruz noted.

‘The incident is the latest in the series of violent acts committed by mentally-ill individuals against members of the Filipino Community in New York City since the start of the year,’ The Consulate General of the Philippines in New York wrote in a post on its Facebook page, referring to the spike in crimes against the Asian-American community that have happened since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ambrocio is an oncology nurse from Bayonne, New Jersey who family members say hadn't seen her relatives throughout the entirety of the pandemic

Ambrocio is an oncology nurse from Bayonne, New Jersey who family members say hadn't seen her relatives throughout the entirety of the pandemic

Ambrocio is an oncology nurse from Bayonne, New Jersey who family members say hadn’t seen her relatives throughout the entirety of the pandemic

Emilia Cruz (pictured center), who was standing alongside Ambrocio when she was knocked down, said she was an 'excellent nurse' and like a younger sister to her

Emilia Cruz (pictured center), who was standing alongside Ambrocio when she was knocked down, said she was an 'excellent nurse' and like a younger sister to her

Emilia Cruz (pictured center), who was standing alongside Ambrocio when she was knocked down, said she was an ‘excellent nurse’ and like a younger sister to her

‘Beginning January, we have seen several of our kababayan, most of them senior citizens, violently assaulted by individuals with mental health issues. We have joined calls for authorities to take the necessary steps, including heightened police visibility, to protect the public after we noted the surge in anti-Asian hate incidents that targeted some of our kababayan.’

The post added, ‘We also supported calls for authorities to take the necessary measures to address mental health issues, especially among the homeless. We reiterate these calls as we mourn our loss but we also ask ourselves: How many more Maria Ambrocios do we have to mourn before the streets would be made safe again?’

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis asked residents to pray for Ambrocio in a Facebook post earlier Saturday, calling her attack ‘an unprovoked assault by a deranged man.’ 

The homeless man had committed another crime an hour and a half earlier when he forced himself into a woman’s apartment on Sixth Avenue and 38th Street, police said.     

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis asked residents to pray for Ambrocio earlier on Saturday, calling her attack 'an unprovoked assault by a deranged person'

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis asked residents to pray for Ambrocio earlier on Saturday, calling her attack 'an unprovoked assault by a deranged person'

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis asked residents to pray for Ambrocio earlier on Saturday, calling her attack ‘an unprovoked assault by a deranged person’

Cruz, visibly upset by the loss of her friend, said Ambrocio was married and had step-children and loved music, traveling and most of all, helping people

Cruz, visibly upset by the loss of her friend, said Ambrocio was married and had step-children and loved music, traveling and most of all, helping people

Cruz, visibly upset by the loss of her friend, said Ambrocio was married and had step-children and loved music, traveling and most of all, helping people

The victim claims she heard someone ringing all of the buzzers at the front door to try and enter the building. She thought it was a delivery person bringing food and let him in.      

‘He busted my door open. He rushed into the apartment,’ she said. ‘He basically was demanding money, like ‘Where’s the money? Where’s the money?’ 

Foster started to break things in the victim’s apartment, before sitting on the couch without saying a word.  

She then grabbed Foster’s phone, which agitated him.    

‘He started screaming ‘I’m an African prince! I’m an African prince!’ ‘ she said.

The woman, who is in her 30s, tried to keep Foster until authorities showed up to the apartment but he ran away.    

‘Honestly speaking, I knew he was on something so I didn’t want to do too much to trigger him,’ she said. ‘I didn’t know what he had on him, if he had a weapon.’

Foster was finally taken into custody by police about a block away from where he crashed into Ambrocio and charged with felony assault and robbery. 

Ambrocio’s cousin said it was hard to understand why he was even able to run around the city to begin with.  

‘Crime has been rampant in the city. If they are mentally ill, why are they on the streets? They should be taken care of,’ she said. 

There have been 15,787 felony assaults like the one Foster is charged with to date in New York City 2021, up seven percent from this time last year and up 28 percent going back to 2010. 

Hate crimes are up 99 percent year-to-date, while sex crimes are up as much as 25 percent and grand larceny auto is up 14 percent. 

There have also been shots taken at the court system. A state law last year limited the number of crimes for which judges can impose bail, which critics say has led to a sharp increase in transit crimes.  

Anthonia Egegbara, 29, of Queens, was charged with attempted murder on Tuesday, over surveillance footage which showed her shoving an innocent woman towards the tracks as a train hurtled into Times Square station.

The unprovoked attack comes just three months after Egegbara, who has schizophrenia, was released without bail following an alleged assault on July 5 which left a 40-year-old woman suffering a black eye, broken nose and a knocked-out tooth. 

Horrifying surveillance video shows the moment when Anthonia Egegbara allegedly pushed a fellow commuter into a train at the Times Square subway station on Monday morning

Horrifying surveillance video shows the moment when Anthonia Egegbara allegedly pushed a fellow commuter into a train at the Times Square subway station on Monday morning

Horrifying surveillance video shows the moment when Anthonia Egegbara allegedly pushed a fellow commuter into a train at the Times Square subway station on Monday morning

Vidal Javier told Telemundo that he felt 'helplessness' when he saw the video of his daughter Lenny, 42 (pictured with her father) being pushed into a subway in Times Square on Monday

Vidal Javier told Telemundo that he felt 'helplessness' when he saw the video of his daughter Lenny, 42 (pictured with her father) being pushed into a subway in Times Square on Monday

Vidal Javier told Telemundo that he felt ‘helplessness’ when he saw the video of his daughter Lenny, 42 (pictured with her father) being pushed into a subway in Times Square on Monday

Egegbara and Foster were arrested as a crime wave terrorizes New Yorkers, with transit crimes rising by 169 per cent for the week ending October 3, compared to the same period in 2020.

Times Square hasn’t avoided the crime wave, as there’ve been three incidents of gun violence at the crossroads of the world in 2021. A man shot himself in the leg in Times Square subway station Monday in the latest shooting to hit the global tourist hot spot this year. 

In May, three unrelated bystanders were hit by stray bullets in the busy tourist hub after police say a man started shooting indiscriminately during an argument with someone else.

A young girl was struck in the leg, a 24-year-old woman was hit in her thigh and a 44-year-old woman was shot in the foot, police said. All are expected to survive. 

Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, was charged with attempted murder and multiple counts of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal use of a firearm, the New York Police Department said. 

Muhammad was booked into jail on an out-of-state warrant

Muhammad was booked into jail on an out-of-state warrant

Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, was charged with attempted murder and multiple counts of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal use of a firearm in connection with a May shooting in Times Square 

In July, 16-year-old Avon Darden turned himself in and was charged with attempted murder after shooting US Marine Samuel Poulin, 21, in the back.  

Poulin was hit in the back by a ricocheting bullet as he walked with his family near the Marriott Hotel on W. 45th St. around 5:.15pm on June 27. The young Marine was hospitalized after the shooting but was not seriously injured. 

Because of his age, Darden was charged as a minor with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon, cops said in a news release. 

Avon Darden, 16, handed himself over to cops at the Midtown South Precinct station house on Wednesday a whopping ten days after the shooting

Avon Darden, 16, handed himself over to cops at the Midtown South Precinct station house on Wednesday a whopping ten days after the shooting

He is pictured in surveillance footage while cops searched for him

He is pictured in surveillance footage while cops searched for him

Avon Darden, 16, handed himself over to cops at the Midtown South Precinct station house on Wednesday a whopping ten days after the shooting. He is pictured in surveillance footage while cops searched for him

Times Square, one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, sees an estimated 50 million visitors annually. About 330,000 people pass through it daily. 

A total of 48 transit crimes were recorded for the period between September 27 and October 3, compared to just 22 for the same period last year. 

Transit crimes rose 59 percent in the month of September, with 184 recorded so far this year, compared to 116 recorded last year. That’s despite weekday subway ridership levels that remain just half of what they were before the pandemic struck. 

The statistics are sure to make grim reading for New York City officials, who are pushing for workers to return to the office, and for tourists to return to the Big Apple, in a bid to boost its COVID-ravaged finances.   

Felony assault, rape and shootings were all up through October 3 compared to last year

Felony assault, rape and shootings were all up through October 3 compared to last year

Felony assault, rape and shootings were all up through October 3 compared to last year

A map showing the New York City boroughs where crime has increased (in red) and decreased (in green) in September 2021 compared to the same month last year

A map showing the New York City boroughs where crime has increased (in red) and decreased (in green) in September 2021 compared to the same month last year

A map showing the New York City boroughs where crime has increased (in red) and decreased (in green) in September 2021 compared to the same month last year

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