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NYC cops charge subway rider who reportedly fired warning shots to save woman from robbery — and folks are fuming over arrest
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NYC cops charge subway rider who reportedly fired warning shots to save woman from robbery — and folks are fuming over arrest

New York City police have charged a subway rider who reportedly fired warning shots to save a woman from a robbery.

As you might expect, observers fed up with crooks getting away with crime — and depressed over regular folks getting into trouble when they step in to prevent crime — are livid over the arrest.

What are the details?

A panhandler was holding open an emergency gate at the 49th Street subway station at Seventh Avenue just after 9 p.m. Tuesday and told a 40-year-old woman he would steal her purse if she didn't hand over her money, WABC-TV reported.

With that, another man ordered the panhandler to "leave her alone" and then fired a couple of warning shots, thwarting the potential robbery, the station said.

No injuries were reported, WABC said, and the man with the gun fled.

Police on Wednesday arrested a suspect — 43-year-old John Rote — and charged him with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a firearm, and menacing, the station reported.

"I want to be clear: we don't tolerate this kind of conduct in NYC Transit, period," NYC Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement, according to WABC. "Once again, cameras recorded a perpetrator, and we are grateful the NYPD made an arrest within hours. Thank goodness nobody was hurt here, but what occurred was outrageous, reckless, and unacceptable."

What happened to the panhandler?

Police arrested the panhandler — 40-year-old Matthew Roesch — and charged him with attempted robbery, the station said, adding that Roesch has one prior arrest for theft of service at the Times Square-W. 42nd St. subway station Sept. 18.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), WABC said.

'Arrested? Hell, give him a medal!'

Here's a sampling of social media commenters who are angry that a guy apparently trying to help prevent crime is now being called a criminal:

  • "Arrested? Hell, give him a medal!" one commenter said.
  • "And people wonder why no one stands up for people in trouble," another commenter observed.
  • "Good thing all these police officers were in the New York City subway transit system to prevent this gun crime," another commenter quipped.
  • "Release this man," another commenter demanded. "NYC is a f***ing s**thole. They expect you to stand there and be a victim and will lock you in a cage for defending innocent people. This is outrageous. People should be ... demanding his release."

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