Man accused in New York subway killing has Beaver County ties
Naeem Davis broke into homes and a school in Beaver County, stealing computers, cell phones and other items, and even bought laptops stolen from three Beaver Falls police cars, court records show.
“He reminded me of the type of guy where he knew he was going to get caught, but he liked the excitement of doing what he was doing,” said North Sewickley police Sgt. Jeff Becze, a Beaver Falls officer when he arrested Davis in 2002 on theft and related charges.
Police on Wednesday charged Davis, 30, a former Beaver County resident, with a crime that stunned New Yorkers, accusing him of shoving a Queens man onto subway tracks and into the path of an oncoming train, killing him.
The attack became all the more shocking after The New York Post ran a photo in Tuesday’s edition showing Ki-Suck Han with his head turned toward the train, his arms reaching up but unable to climb off the tracks in time.
Freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday that he was trying to alert the motorman by flashing his camera and taking the picture.
He said he was surprised that people nearer to the victim didn’t try to help in the 22 seconds before the train struck.
“It took me a second to figure out what was happening. … I saw the lights in the distance. My mind was to alert the train,” Abbasi said.
“The people who were standing close to him … they could have moved and grabbed him and pulled him up. No one made an effort.”
Witnesses told investigators they saw Davis talking to himself Monday afternoon before he approached Han, 58, at the Times Square station, got into an altercation with him and pushed him into the train’s path. Police charged Davis, whom they described as homeless, with second-degree murder and related offenses.
Davis was taken into custody for questioning Tuesday when security video showed a man fitting the suspect’s description working with street vendors near Rockefeller Center. Police said Davis made statements implicating himself in Han’s death.
Han’s only child, Ashley, 20, said at a news conference Wednesday that her father was always willing to help someone. But when asked about why no one helped him up, she said: “What’s done is done.”
“The thought of someone helping him up in a matter of seconds would have been great,” she said.
Court records show Davis had addresses in Beaver Falls, New Brighton and Ohioville from 1999 to 2010 when he was charged in more than a dozen cases ranging from theft to vandalism.
According to a 1998 account in the Beaver County Times, Davis was born with fetal-alcohol syndrome and became the foster child of Jim and Ruth Scialabba of New Brighton, coming to them from Philadelphia when he was 7.
Members of the Scialabba family did not respond to a knock on the door for comment. One man went into and out of the New Brighton home but did not acknowledge reporters standing outside.
Donna Reisinger, the Scialabba’s next-door neighbor, said she remembered Davis but never knew him well.
“I remember him. It’s been quite a while since he lived with them. I have not seen him in years,” she said.
In 2002, Beaver Falls police charged Davis with buying three laptops stolen from police cruisers.
Becze said that when police went to the group home where Davis lived to investigate the thefts, he opened his room door, with the laptops in plain view.
“He said, ‘I was waiting for you guys,’” Becze said. “He wasn’t combative at all. I don’t remember him being violent.”
Davis pleaded guilty to a theft charge and was sentenced to one year of probation.
It was unclear why Davis was living in a group home. Beaver Falls police Chief Charles Jones didn’t return phone messages seeking comment.
Davis also listed a different group home in Ohioville in court documents charging him with stealing a purse and other items from the cars of people living nearby in 2003.
North Sewickley police said Davis entered Riverside Beaver County High School on Nov. 30, 2001, during a basketball tournament and stole computer equipment.
Beaver County President Judge John D. McBride sentenced Davis, who pleaded guilty to theft, to one to two years in state prison, followed by three years’ probation in that case and several others.
Davis served probationary periods or jail time on additional theft charges filed against him in 2002 and 2003.
The Associated Press and staff writer Rick Wills contributed to this report. Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.