The fare evader who died after breaking his neck while drunkenly trying to jump barriers at a Queens subway station is being remembered by his loved ones as a devoted father to his four year old son.
Police said 28-year-old Christopher De La Cruz died Saturday morning after jumping over a New York City subway turnstile at the Forest Hills-71st Avenue train station in Queens, tripping and cracking his head on the concrete floor.
He has been pictured in photos released by his grieving relatives, riding a merry-go-round with his son, and toting the little boy on his shoulders for a photograph.
The Medical Examiner determined the accidental death was caused by blunt impact injury of head and neck.
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Described as a loving father, family shared photos of De La Cruz going for a ride on a merry go round with his four-year-old son
Family shared photographs of De La Cruz beaming while hoisting his son on his shoulder
Graphic surveillance video of the incident showed De La Cruz struggling to lift his legs over the turnstile before falling forward and hitting his head on the floor
Surveillance footage of the incident shows that at first, De La Cruz falls into the turnstiles, sending his phone skidding across the floor.
The footage then goes on to show him stumbling around and struggling to lift his body before he slips and breaks his neck.
Cops and EMS personnel responded to a call of a man lying unconscious on the mezzanine floor of the station, which serves the E, F, M and R lines.
Police said that the 28-year-old was drinking before the tragic accident.
The freak accident has left De La Cruz’s family in shock and struggling to cope with his sudden death.
‘For us, the shock is really here,’ his brother Brian told the New York Daily News as the family makes funeral plans. ‘There’s never really words to describe the loss, especially as his brother. There’s nobody to replace him or his love of his son. It really seemed like things were looking up and unfortunately this happened.’
Christopher De La Cruz, 28, died Saturday morning after jumping over a New York City subway turnstile at the Forest Hills-71st Avenue in Queens, tripping and cracking his head on the concrete floor. He was unconscious when police and EMS personnel arrived at the scene
Before his fatal fall De La Cruz was captured stumbling around and struggling to lift his body over the turnstiles
To honor his brother, who he described as ‘the kindest soul’ Brian created a GoFundMe that has already raised over $15,000.
The fundraiser featured photographs of De La Cruz beaming while hoisting his son on his shoulder and another of the pair going for a ride on a merry go round.
Brian said all donations will go towards helping with funeral costs and creating a college fun for De La Cruz’ four-year-old son Neithyn, who Brian says was very close to his dad.
‘If there was one thing in this world that my brother wanted to be remembered for, it was his love for his son who meant the world to him,’ Brian wrote on the fundraiser. ‘Anyone who has ever spoken to Chris, for even a brief moment, has probably seen my nephew’s face or heard about the love my brother had for him.’
‘No amount of money can replace the loss of a loved one,’ Brian wrote. ‘We ask that you donate what you can, if you can. Thank you’
In a separate social media post the mother of De La Cruz’s son said that the 28-year-old was thoughtful and a ‘pure soul’ and that his memory will live on though his son, the Daily News reported.
‘The light you shined was beyond this world,’ she wrote. ‘Your contagious laughter, your whole aura radiated love to its core. The purest of souls, because you would always share whatever you had, even like splitting the last slice in half.’
‘Your son will always know of your name, your love & all the love you ever gave him & will continue to give him from beyond this dimension. I love you,’ she added.
The freak accident comes in the first days of 2022 after a year of violence in the Big Apple. However, nothing seems to be changing in the new year, although newly-inaugurated Mayor Eric Adams has vowed to take a tougher stance on crime than his predecessor Bill de Blasio.
On Tuesday, a shocking video captured the moment an 85-year-old woman was slammed into a wall inside a Bronx apartment building after a cold-hearted thief dragged her out of an elevator by her cane and rifled through her purse.
The NYPD shared surveillance video on Monday of the robbery at the building on E 149th St and Morris Ave in Mott Haven at 3.10pm as the city’s spiraling crime keeps sinking to new depths.
The callous thief, who was wearing a surgical mask and hoodie to hide his identity, walked into the elevator of the complex’s first floor and rode with the elderly woman up to the sixth floor.
He then got out when the doors opened, appeared to look down the floor’s hall to make sure no residents were out of their apartments and then went back inside the elevator to steal the elderly woman’s purse.
The unidentified elderly woman was taken to Lincoln Hospital with neck pain, police said.
Later in the day, the thief was seen entering the elevator again with a stack of cash in his hand, believed to be from the purse. The amount of money he stole is unclear.
The attack came on the same day as four violent incidents were reported in various locations throughout the crime-ridden subway system, including one where a man was pushed on the tracks but managed to climb to safety.
Above ground, a woman in her 40s became the first homicide of 2022.
The woman, who has not been identified, was found lying on the sidewalk in Astoria, Queens, just before 9pm on Saturday.
She had been stabbed multiple times near Bel Aire Diner in Astoria and later died at Astoria General Hospital.
No witnesses or suspects have been identified in the killing.
Crime will a major focus of NYC’s new mayor Eric Adams, whose first day on the job was Saturday.
Adams, 61, a former New York City police captain, began his first day on the job by riding the subway from his Brooklyn brownstone to City Hall.
He chatted with New Yorkers with a throng of reporters following him and while waiting for the train, he called 911 to report a fight after witnessing two men tussling near the subway station.
Later in the day, he promised to aggressively go after violent crime while holding a news conference about a police officer who was shot and injured hours earlier.
Adams and his new police commissioner, Keechant Sewel, held the conference Saturday afternoon outside a hospital after a police officer was shot while sleeping in his vehicle in a precinct parking lot between shifts. The officer is expected to fully recover.
Adams declared that New York is ‘not going to be a city of violence’.
‘I am clear on my mission to aggressively go after those who are carrying violent weapons in our city,’ he said.
Hours earlier, as confetti continued to drift across Times Square, Adams recited his oath of office.
Associate Justice Sylvia O Hinds-Radix of the state Supreme Court’s appellate division swore Adams in as he placed one hand on a family Bible and his other held a photograph of his mother, Dorothy, who died in 2020.
After canceling initial plans to be sworn into office at a Brooklyn theater, Adams said Saturday that he chose to hold his inauguration ceremony at the scene of the New Year’s Eve ball drop to show that the city was open and alive and ‘that New York can and should be the center of the universe again’.
The pandemic had put the city through ‘two years of continuous crisis,’ Adams said, ‘and that insults our very nature as New Yorkers’.
‘There’s one thing that everyone knows about New Yorkers: We don´t like anyone telling us what to do,’ he added.
Adams said he and advisers are studying whether to expand vaccine mandates and noted that they plan to distribute face masks and rapid tests, as well as introduce a color-coded system alerting New Yorkers to the current threat level.
While promising to be a man of action in the mayor’s office, Adams is at times an unconventional politician who is expected to put his own stamp on the role.
Adams, the former Brooklyn borough president, has struck a more business-friendly, moderate stance than his predecessor but describes himself as a practical and progressive mayor who will ‘get stuff done’.
He is the city’s second black mayor, after David Dinkins, who served from 1990 to 1993, and the 110th mayor of New York City.
He held his first cabinet meeting Saturday morning. Later in the afternoon, he sought to send a powerful symbol of his own resiliency by visiting a police precinct in Queens where he was beaten by officers when he was a teenager.
‘Today is an important moment for me as I finally leave the demon right here on these streets, no longer living the trauma I experienced in this precinct, but back as the mayor in charge of the entire police department,’ he said.