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Suspect still at large after 87-year-old woman dies in unprovoked shoving attack in New York City


(NEW YORK) — A suspect remains at large nearly a week after an 87-year-old woman was shoved to the ground in an unprovoked attack on a New York City street, subsequently dying from her injuries, police said.

The victim was walking in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood on Thursday at around 8:25 p.m. when the assailant crossed the street, approached her from behind and pushed her, “causing her to fall and hit her head,” New York City police said. She was transported to an area hospital in critical condition.

The suspect, described as a woman with long, dark hair wearing a black jacket, black leggings, white skirt or dress and dark shoes, fled the scene and remains at large, police said.

The victim, who was identified by officials as Barbara Maier Gustern, died from her injuries on Tuesday, police said.

“We’re asking the public’s health in solving this disgusting, disgraceful offense committed against a vulnerable, elderly female who was doing nothing but walking down the streets of New York City,” New York Police Department Chief of Detectives James Essig said during a briefing Tuesday.

The NYPD released a surveillance video of the suspect as the search continues.

Barbara Maier Gustern, an 87-year old Chelsea resident, was attacked on West 28th Street on Thursday at around 9:30 pm. The suspect is a woman with long dark hair who remains at large.

🚨 If you have information call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-8477 (TIPS)pic.twitter.com/WtDp0bLGv0

— Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) March 14, 2022

New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman said he was “devastated” to learn of Gustern’s death.

“Her assailant, who is still at large, must be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said on Twitter.

Gustern was a well-known and beloved member of the city’s cabaret scene and a vocal coach.

Her friend, Barbara Bleier, was rehearsing with her for a cabaret show before last week’s attack.

“She is one of the most inspirational women I have ever met,” Bleier told ABC affiliate WABC on Monday.

Gustern’s grandson, AJ Gustern, said he had flown to New York to be by his grandmother’s side while she was in the hospital,

“She’s the light of my life,” he told WABC on Monday. “I’m angry at the state of the world. I’m angry at the state of the city.”

Condolences have poured in in the wake of Gustern’s passing.

“God bless the memory of this woman who defined extraordinary,” opera singer Stephanie Blythe said on Twitter. “That she should pass from this life as a result of violence after the incredible and generous life she lived is past all understanding.”

Police are asking anyone with information to call 1-800-577-8477 or go to crimestoppers.nypdonline.org to report confidential tips.

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