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‘You can’t let somebody like that get away’: MTA subway conductor captures his attacker after being stabbed on the job

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 4/23/2019 Esha Ray, Clayton Guse
a man standing in front of a refrigerator © Esha Ray/New York Daily News

A Bronx subway stabber arrived at his last stop thanks to a gutsy and bloodied MTA conductor who fought off a platform knife attack and corralled his assailant for cops — and it nearly cost him his spleen.

“I had to hold him down because you can’t let somebody like that get away,” Denaul Jenkins, wearing a hospital gown, told the Daily News in an exclusive interview at Lincoln Hospital Monday.

Jenkins, 33, was waiting for his southbound No. 6 train at the 149th St.-Grand Concourse subway station at around 10:40 a.m. Easter Sunday when a crazed man attacked him.

The perp made a lewd comment to Jenkins before hitting him in the head with a right hook.

Jenkins, a transit worker for five years, said he managed to get out from underneath his attacker and pin his face to the ground after a scuffle, holding him captive until cops arrived.

During the fight, the attacker repeatedly stabbed Jenkins.

“I didn’t know he had a knife until I got up and the police arrested him and I’m walking away and my fellow coworkers come to me saying that I’m bleeding,” Jenkins said. "I look down and I notice that my left side is full of blood. My neck got stabbed. The side of my abdomen got stabbed.”

Jenkins said the knife missed his spleen by a millimeter but all of his organs are okay.

“I’m in less pain now — they’re saying everything is healing,” he said.

Police said Walter Rivera, 20, of the Upper East Side committed the attack. He has been charged with assault and weapon possession and taken to BronxCare Health System for a psychiatric evaluation.

“He really needs help, he needs rehabilitation,” Jenkins said of the man who nearly killed him. "This is a psychological mental illness issue that needs to be addressed. I hope his family supports him.”

The suspect’s distraught older brother Ely Gonzalez believes Rivera’s irrational behavior stems from new medication he has been taking as a part of his leukemia treatment.

Gonzalez said Rivera was acting strange when he left the house Sunday morning and even left behind a bizarre note numbered one through five with words like “porn,” “molested” and “smoke weed.”

Officials from Transport Workers Union Local 100 said the attack was related to the city’s lack of mental health resources, but also said the book should be thrown at Rivera.

““This has gotten out of hand. It seems like there are more and more people with serious problems in the subway every day. The city has to address this and take action to protect transit workers from these irrational and unprovoked criminal attacks. The city is failing transit workers, and riders, by not providing a safe environment," said Local 100 President Tony Utano.

Local 100 Head of Trains Eric Loegel said the attack on Jenkins was a horrific crime.

"You don’t stab a person repeatedly unless you attempt to kill them,” said Loegel.

NYC Transit President Andy Byford visited Jenkins at the hospital early Monday and found him in good spirits.

“I never want to see one of my co-workers under such circumstances again and shall continue to push for heavy penalties against anyone that attacks transit staff,” Byford said.

Jenkins has lived in the Bronx his entire life and said the stabbing was not his first brush with bloodshed.

“I grew up in a violent environment but at the same time I did not grow up to be a person to go around beating up people,” Jenkins said.

Doctors told the subway conductor he’d be able to leave the hospital Tuesday.

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