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Police arrest man in fatal NYC subway shove

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  • Kevin Darden, who police said was wanted for a Nov. 6 assault at the West 4th Street subway station. (AP Photo/NYPD)

  • In this Sunday surveillance video, a man suspected of shoving a stranger off a subway platform smokes a cigarette outside a convenience store in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/New York Police Department)

NEW YORK » Police on Tuesday arrested a man on a murder charge in the death of a stranger who was shoved into the path of a train at a subway station.

Kevin Darden, 34, was picked up by detectives near his mother’s home in the Bronx, according to police, who said he has a history of arrests for assault and robbery, including a recent pickpocketing bust on Nov. 9.

Darden also is a suspect in a separate incident in which a man was pushed to the ground at another subway station and suffered minor injuries earlier this month. Charges are pending in that case, police said.

Police didn’t release a home address for Darden and it wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer.

Wai Kuen Kwok was standing with his wife on a platform at the Grand Concourse and East 167th Street station in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx on Sunday when he was pushed from behind by a man. Kwok, 61, was struck by an approaching southbound D train and died at the scene. His wife wasn’t injured.

There was no indication that Kwok knew the man or had had any interaction with him before he was pushed, police said. His wife said she did not recognize the man.

The man fled the station and two minutes later hopped on a bus with other people who had been on the platform at the time of the push and unknowingly discussed it while he was nearby, police said.

Surveillance footage shows the man walking calmly from the subway station. Later footage shows him getting off a bus 10 blocks away, heading into a convenience store and then emerging smoking a cigarette.

The victim’s wife was taken to a hospital for observation. Relatives told authorities Kwok worked for a kitchen supply company and the couple was planning to have breakfast and do grocery shopping in Chinatown on Sunday.

There were at least two other cases in recent years that involved a person being fatally pushed onto subway tracks.

In December 2012, a homeless man was arrested after a man was pushed in front of a Times Square train that crushed him. A photographer on the platform snapped a series of photos of the man as he was about to be struck, prompting criticism that he instead should have tried to help him.

Later that month, a mumbling woman pushed a man to his death in front of a subway train in Queens.

About 5 million people ride the subway every day in New York City. Every year, about 140 people are hit by city subway trains, many of them in accidental knocks and willful leaps. Fifty people have been killed by subway trains this year, and 55 died last year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

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