Friends and neighbors of charity activist and homeless advocate Michelle Alyssa Go agonized over her cruel slaying as doctors evaluated the subway vagrant accused of shoving her to her death beneath a moving train at a Times Square station.
“I’m saddened by it, this is hitting so close to home for a person that I know was a good person,” Lamar Griffin, 59, who works at the front desk of Go’s apartment building on the Upper West Side, said on Sunday. “I didn’t know her deeply, but the interactions we had for the last two years or so, she was a good person and it hurts talking about it.”
Go, 40, was waiting for an R train shortly after 9:30 a.m. Saturday when Simon Martial, 61, targeted her at random and shoved her into the path of a subway train, police said. She died on the scene.
Martial surrendered to police and admitted what he did, police sources said.
When asked by a group of reporters Saturday night if he pushed the woman — and why — he yelled, “Yeah, because I’m God, yes I did! Because I’m God I can do it!”
Martial on Sunday remained at at Bellevue Hospital, which often handles psychiatric evaluations of suspects in police custody. Police have charged him with murder.
Go earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business, according to her LinkedIn.com profile. She worked in strategy and operations for Deloitte Consulting, according to her profile.
Go spent over 10 years volunteering with the New York Junior League, a women-led charity focused on educating and improving communities.
“With a focus on strengthening family units, she (Go) served many women and children within our New York community, helping them enrich their lives through education on nutrition,” New York Junior League president Dayna Barlow Cassidy said in a statement.
Over the decade she spent volunteering at the charity, Go’s focus was on seniors, recovering homeless people, immigrants, under resourced elementary and middle school aged children struggling academically and their parents.
Go also worked with both adults and young adults to reach success, providing them with life skills such as resume writing, interviewing, personal finance and networking.
“Michelle will be missed by many friends,” Barlow Cassidy said. “We call upon the city’s leadership to urgently address the lack of mental health and other supports for underserved communities.”
“She was really smart and really intelligent,” said one former neighbor, who didn’t give his name.
Griffin said Go’s death reinforces his worries about the city’s mentally ill homeless population.
“I tell my girlfriend if you’re going somewhere take a Uber or cab, don’t take these buses or trains. There’s a lot of crazies out here and you never know what they going to do,” he said. “They’ve been talking about doing something forever but nothing is changing.”
“You don’t know what somebody off their medication is going to do. You see them on the train station platform all the time, you don’t know what they going to do. Like who expected that to happen?” he added.
Natalie Kovach, who lives in the same building, echoed that nagging uncertainty and frustration.
“This can happen to anyone. There’s been a noticeable increase in homelessness and crime and it’s like no one Is doing anything about it,” she said.