The New York Police Department has launched an investigation into a possible hate crime after a woman allegedly attacked seven people with an unknown chemical spray Friday night.
The first attack occurred just before noon Friday at the 125 Street station. A woman, wearing a blue jacket and grey pants, approached a 29-year-old man and sprayed him in the face with an unknown substance.
The woman quickly fled the station and while walking along 125th street, sprayed another five people.
The victims were one 47-year-old male, and four females ranging from 23 to 48 years of age.
About an hour later, the suspect sprayed a seventh victim, a 30-year-old woman, in the face while she was waiting on the 1 train platform at the 96 Street station.
A spokesperson for the NYPD told BuzzFeed News Saturday that the substance was "some kind of chemical spray" that irritated the victims to the point they needed medical attention.
Some of the victims were taken to a nearby hospital for minor injuries and were later released.
"I stopped, stepped to the side, let people off the train when the doors opened, and a female and male stepped off, and the girl walked right past me and stepped to the side to give me room, and she held the mace directly to my eye and just sprayed it in my eye," one of the victims told ABC7. "She just walked up to me — literally walked right up to me — maced me and kept walking. It lights your whole face on fire, your sinuses, your throat feels like it's closing up. It's rough."
All of the victims were white, a police spokesperson said. While the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incidents, a police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the attacks have not yet been deemed a hate crime.
"[The victims] happened to be all white," the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "If it's a coincidence, I don't know."
The woman did not say anything to the victims she sprayed, the police official said, adding that the suspect targeting a group of people on the subway is "a cause for concern."
The investigation is ongoing and no arrest has been made as of Saturday morning.