On Wednesday night, bystanders looked on as an assailant raped a Philadelphia woman on a SEPTA Market-Frankford elevated train. Authorities said Friday that nobody called the police during the incident.
A police officer arrested a suspect at the 69th Street Transportation Center after a SEPTA employee noticed the attack and alerted the police, reported NBC. The attack took place around 11 pm. The arrest occurred after the westbound train arrived at the station.
Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt of the Upper Darby Police Department said surveillance footage shocked him when other riders did not stop the attack or call the police. The victim was taken for treatment at a nearby hospital and said she did not know the identity of her attacker.
The suspect, identified as Fiston Ngoy, 35, is believed to be a homeless man, claimed Bernhardt. Ngoy faces charges of rape, aggravated indecent assault and related counts, according to Delaware County court records.
Court documents neither listed a defense attorney for the assailant or a number for him as of the time of writing Saturday. Upper Darby police are now leading the investigation, and SEPTA police are assisting, the transit agency spokesman said Friday.
"It's disturbing that there were people on the [train], and no one did anything to intervene or help this woman," said Upper Darby Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt. Both SEPTA and Upper Darby employees said it appears from surveillance footage that others on the train could have called 911 to alert police. The former called it a "horrific act" and urged witnesses to report it to the authorities.
"The assault was observed by a SEPTA employee, who called 911, enabling SEPTA officers to respond immediately and apprehend the suspect in the act," said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch in a statement. "There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911. SEPTA urges anyone who observes a crime being committed or any dangerous situation occurring to report it. Anyone witnessing an emergency should immediately call 911."