Nurse dies after knocked down by mugger in Times Square, police say

Published: Oct. 10, 2021 at 3:39 PM AKDT
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NEW YORK (WCBS) - A New Jersey nurse died over the weekend after being critically injured by an alleged mugger in Times Square.

The suspect, 26-year-old Jermaine Foster was described by police as a homeless man who had been on a crime spree. He was was taken into custody by the NYPD and faces charges of murder, robbery and burglary.

Emilia Cruz was with her friend Maria Ambrocio when it happened Friday.

“It’s a horrible thing, I don’t know what to tell you, my nerves are shot,” she said. “You know, I can’t feel it now because she’s gone. She’s gone.”

A little more than 24 hours after her close friend was assaulted in front of her, Cruz was at her side along with family as she was taken off life support.

“She was every friend that anybody wants to have,” Cruz said. “She was a very kind person, extremely sincere, honest and loving.”

Both were nurses at Bayonne Medical Center.

Cruz says she and Ambrocio had just finished lunch when a man plowed into Ambrocio outside a pizzeria.

Police say that man was being chased after stealing another man’s phone.

She fell and cracked her skull when her head hit the pavement.

“I hope that he will be charged and, you know, justice should be served, so my friend’s life won’t be in vain,” Cruz said.

Police say Foster took off but was later caught and arrested. They add that he was also involved in another theft shortly before the incident at a woman’s apartment.

In Bayonne, where Ambrocio worked as a nurse for more than two decades, Mayor Jimmy Davis says he befriended her during the pandemic, seeing her just last week.

He says he was always in awe of her commitment to her patients, adding her passing has left a permanent hole in this community.

“She’s a sweetheart; she was a loving person, a caring person,” Davis said. “All she wanted to do was help. Even during the pandemic, she worked extra hours, she did everything she had to do for the people of Bayonne.”

Ambrocio’s friends said she was married and had stepchildren.

A committed member of her church and the Filipino community, they said in addition to helping people, she loved music and travel.

“She is like a sister to me, a younger sister,” Cruz said. “She’s a good nurse, an excellent nurse.”

They say their friend will be remembered for her giving heart and her endless devotion to helping others.

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