Michelle Go: Family of NYC subway attack victim speak out

Sister of suspect says he has been ‘in and out of mental hospitals’ for ‘at least 20 years’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 18 January 2022 16:46 GMT
Related video: Vigils planned for Michelle Go in Bay Area and New York City

The family of Michelle Alyssa Go, who was killed after being pushed in front of a subway train at Times Square station in New York City, have issued a statement saying that they are “in a state of shock”.

The family said they are “grieving the loss of our daughter, sister, and friend”.

“We hope Michelle will be remembered for how she lived and not just how she died. She was a beautiful, brilliant, kind, and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends, loved to travel the world and to help others,” they added in the statement shared with ABC News.

Ms Go, 40, was waiting for the R train at Times Square Station around 9.40am on Saturday when, according to police, she was pushed onto the tracks from behind by Martial Simon, a previously convicted homeless man.

The 61-year-old turned himself in to police shortly afterwards. He’s facing murder charges.

Mr Simon’s family has said that he suffers from schizophrenia and that he shouldn’t have been allowed to be on the streets.

“Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence, and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves,” Ms Go’s family said. “Thank you for your condolences. We ask the media to please respect our privacy during this very difficult time."

Josette Simon, 65, told the New York Post that her younger brother was “a hardworking man, he was a giving man”.

“At 14 years old, he started shovelling snow. He drove a taxicab. He worked from the bottom to move up to become a manager at a parking place in Manhattan. He always liked New York,” she said.

“Somehow, in his 30s, something happened and he lost it,” she added. “He kept seeing and hearing people after him. One of my sisters took him in. He stayed, and then he said, ‘I have to go back to New York.’”

Ms Go’s family described her as a warm and compassionate friend.

“Michelle had a love of life, loved her family, and loved to meet and work with people,” the Go family statement continued. “She made and kept up with countless friends from grade school to college to graduate school and at her workplaces. Her friends would tell us that Michelle was smart, funny, big hearted and a real role model.”

“Michelle loved to travel the world to meet new people and different cultures. Most recently, Michelle travelled to the Maldives with friends to celebrate her 40th birthday and the New Year 2022,” they said. “Michelle will be deeply missed by her parents, brother, many aunts and uncles, cousins, as well as many friends and colleagues.”

Martial Simon has been to prison for robbery and attempted robbery, telling reporters that he pushed Ms Go because he’s “God”, according to the New York Post.

“I remember begging one of the hospitals, ‘Let him stay,’ because once he’s out, he didn’t want to take medication, and it was the medication that kept him going,” his sister told the paper.

“The last time we spoke, he said ‘they’ were coming after him,” Ms Simon said. “I could tell it was his sickness. He swore that they were watching him, hiding in closets.”

The sister said the death of Ms Go is “tearing me apart”.

“It’s like I can’t even talk about it. My heart goes out to whoever lost their loved one, whether it was a mother, a sister, a daughter,” she said.

“I just would like to put that out there, to apologise, to feel for them,” she added. “It’s tearing me apart. My brother had been sick for so long.”

“Of course, I never thought something like that would happen,” Ms Simon told The Post. “And it’s not only my brother. I don’t think enough people look at mental illness like a disease, like cancer, AIDS or anything else. It’s an illness.”

“I’m his older sister, and it really breaks my heart that there was nothing I could do,” Ms Simon said. “And they let him out in the street. Unfortunately, they never had my number to even call me or tell me, ‘Get your brother.’”

She said her brother needs help.

“Don’t go locking him up like an animal with people who are really murderers,” she added. “Get him some help. I’m not saying let him out, but get him some help.”

“People who saw him know – he’s crazy,” Ms Simon said.

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