Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Waheed Foster has pleaded guilty to attempted murder for the violent, unprovoked assault of a subway rider in September 2022 at the Howard Beach/JFK station. The victim, who was on her way to work at the time of the attack, underwent emergency surgery for her injuries which resulted in the loss of her right eye.

District Attorney Katz said: “The brutality and random nature of this attack is unconscionable. My office will not allow a small number of violent individuals to undermine the sense of safety for the millions of New Yorkers who depend on the subway every day. After building such a strong case against this defendant, we are looking to provide a measure of closure for the survivor, who suffered such serious injuries.”

Foster, 44, undomiciled at the time of the attack, pleaded guilty today before Judge Ira Margulis to attempted murder in the second degree. He is expected to be sentenced to 22 years in prison, followed by five years post-release supervision, on June 24.

Foster was previously indicted in September 2022 for attempted murder, assault in the first degree, three counts of assault in the second degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. He was arraigned on the charges in January 2024 after being found mentally competent to stand trial.

According to the charges:

  • On September 20, 2022, at approximately 5:30 a.m., Foster followed 33-year-old Elizabeth Gomes as she got off a train at the Howard Beach/JFK Airport subway station on her way to work.
  • While Gomes was walking up the stairs to reach the main platform, Foster ran up from behind and struck her in the head with a hard object without any provocation.
  • As observed on video surveillance footage, Gomes fled, running through the station.
  • Foster caught up to the victim and threw her to the ground, punching her repeatedly as she laid on the floor.
  • Several moments later, when Gomes began to get up off the ground, Foster kicked her in the face, knocking the victim back down, and continued the attack
  • A Good Samaritan seen in the video attempting to intervene but is chased away by Foster.
  • Gomes was taken to a local hospital where she underwent emergency eye surgery. As a result of her injuries, she lost her right eye.

Assistant District Attorney Kanella Georgopoulos of the District Attorney’s Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Michael Whitney, Bureau Chief and Roni C. Piplani, Deputy Chief, under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for the Major Crimes Division Shawn Clark.