Exclusive: Man speaks out after head slashed with wooden plank in subway attack

LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) – Joseph Holder suffered bruises and stitches after a man split his head wide open with a wooden plank, according to police.

“I could hardly see anything, my vision was blurry – I felt dizzy. I still managed to be conscious enough to look around. And he was gone. Disappeared,” Holder said.

The 28-year-old is the latest victim of a brutal, random subway attack. He was waiting for the train at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday morning – when the wood-wielding attacker fired two cheap shots.

“I fainted and he immediately pushed me – a few milliseconds later he pushed me. Like it was a two-hit combination,” Holder added.

Holder went down to the six train tracks, blood was pouring from the wound and he had only one thing on his mind, barely conscious.

“If I don’t get up right away, I’m going to get hit by the train,” Holder said. “I was literally dead – I was literally so close to death. So close.”

Stunned and dazed, Holder somehow managed to get himself back onto the platform without assistance before passing out and being taken to Bellevue, he told Eyewitness News in an exclusive interview.

“It was just – I don’t know if it was my willpower or my soul – you’re not going to die here. I just lifted myself up,” Holder adds.

Deming Li, 42, was arrested on Thursday, just a day later. He was charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest. Holder says he was found at the same subway station where he now wants to see more police officers.

“You should have been in the station. They should have been down there. And this is one of those main stations that is dangerous,” Holder added.

Holder warns other drivers that something unexpected can happen, so you need to be on your guard.

The number of crimes on public transport has fallen by four percent so far this year, but there are other victims of subway attacks who can no longer tell their stories.

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James Brien

James Brien is a WSTNewsPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined WSTNewsPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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