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Man arrested after throwing ‘flammable substance’ on stranger in NYC subway station, setting shirt on fire, police say

<i>WABC via CNN Newsource</i><br />The Houston Street station in Manhattan is pictured on Saturday
WABC via CNN Newsource
The Houston Street station in Manhattan is pictured on Saturday

By Celina Tebor, Zenebou Sylla and Samantha Beech, CNN

(CNN) — A man has been arrested after police accused him of throwing a “flammable substance” on a stranger, setting his shirt on fire in a New York City subway station.

Nile Taylor pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree attempted assault, two counts of second-degree assault, and three counts of second-degree menacing, according to a complaint by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Taylor, declined to comment.

The incident happened about 2:45 p.m. Saturday as a train was pulling up to Manhattan’s Houston Street station. According to the complaint, Taylor threw a burning object at two people, causing a male victim’s body to catch fire and causing “significant burns” to his head, neck, arm and chest. The burning substance was identified as alcohol, the complaint said.

The suspect was unknown to the victim, police said. He fled the scene but was later taken into custody nearby, the NYPD said.

The male victim, 23, suffered a burn to his upper torso and was in stable condition after being transported to a hospital, police said.

On Sunday, police said a 22-year-old woman was also injured, but the state of her condition and injuries were unclear.

Taylor is a suspect in what the NYPD said was a similar incident earlier this year.

Police said Taylor was separately arrested Sunday in connection with the February 5 evening incident, for which he is accused of throwing a “lit container of flammable liquid” at a group of people standing on the southbound 1 train platform at the West 28th Street station in Manhattan, the NYPD said in March.

Taylor is facing charges of attempted assault, reckless endangerment and arson over that incident, the NYPD said. No injuries were reported.

The NYPD did not have any information on the suspect’s possible motive in either incident.

The NYPD said Taylor is 49, while the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said he’s 48.

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