The Consulate General of the Philippines was fuming on Saturday after news broke that a Filipino nurse died after being knocked down by a man in Times Square.
Maria Ambrocio, 58, was taken off of life support on Saturday after suffering a traumatic brain injury from being knocked down in Times Square by Jermaine Foster, 26, who was running away after stealing someone’s cellphone, according to The New York Times.
The injury occurred on Friday, when Ambrocio was walking in Times Square with her friend, who is also Filipino, according to a Facebook post from the consulate general. She had just visited the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York City.
Foster, after running into Ambrocio and pushing her to the ground, collided with a police officer who then arrested him, according to the Times. He was charged with murder and robbery.
The consulate general said Ambrocio is “the latest victim of deranged individuals on the loose in New York City," adding that she was knocked to the ground by "someone who was described as a mentally disturbed homeless man."
New York City has recently seen a number of individuals with significant and untreated mental illnesses be apprehended for unlawful acts, according to the Times, including shoving others on the subway, killing homeless individuals and assaulting people.
The Consulate General of the Philippines said it has joined efforts calling for authorities to “take the necessary steps” to protect the public against anti-Asian hate incidents that have targeted Filipinos, or "kababayan," including heightened police visibility.
“Beginning January, we have seen several of our kababayan, most of them senior citizens, violently assaulted by individuals with mental health issues,” the consulate general added.
The consulate general also said it has backed calls to address mental health issues, especially for 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?” the consulate general added.
Ambrocio was a nurse at Bayonne Medical Center, and had worked throughout the pandemic, according to the Times. She had worked at the hospital for 25 years.
Foster was also arrested in September for forcible touching after he allegedly groped a 30-year-old woman in Times Square, according to the Times. He was ultimately released.
He reportedly broke into an apartment in New York City’s garment district on Friday, smashed furniture and ordered the 30-year-old female owner to pay him money, according to the Times. He left the premises after she paid him $15. He was charged with robbery and burglary for that incident.
The Hill reached out to the Legal Aid Society, where a lawyer is representing Foster, for comment.