Man douses subway rider with flaming liquid on downtown NYC train

"I protect my fiancée with my body.”


On Saturday, 49-year-old Nile Taylor was arrested after allegedly throwing an unknown flammable substance at a man on the New York City subway who shielded his fiancée from the attack, which caused severe burns on his body.  

According to ABC 7, Taylor was charged with assault, arson, and reckless engagement, along with petty larceny and criminal possession of a weapon. 

In an interview with the New York Post, the victim of the attack, 23-year-old Petrit Alijaj said, "I protect my fiancée with my body.” He added that he was on the No. 1 train with his fiancée and cousin heading to see the Statue of Liberty. 

"He had a cup," Alijaj described the incident. He said it had something inside, "like oil, he made a fire and threw it all." 

Alijaj turned his body and shielded the other two, but the flaming liquid ended up catching his shirt on fire. "I touched myself to put out the fire," he told the outlet." He added, "So while I was running I was burning." 

At some point, Alijaj was able to get the flaming shirt off of himself, but not before suffering severe burns on his neck, ears, chest, arms, and left hand. The doctors told him that he had burns on 30 percent of his body.

Police were able to track a cellphone that Taylor picked up from the platform to determine his location and arrest him.  

According to NYC crime stats, the violent crime rate in the city is down 2.64 percent in 2024 from this same point last year, but felony assault is up 4.1 percent. 

In March, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced her plan to deploy 1,000 National Guard members to search bags of subway riders in a speech about the "brazen heinous attacks" on the subway system. In the speech, she discussed her 5-point plan to address subway safety, which included bag checks, an increase in law enforcement, and a law that prevented violent criminals from using the transit system. 

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