Subway hero suing New York City, NYPD

March 22, 2011 8:29:36 PM PDT
He was called a hero when he subdued a stabbing suspect on a New York subway, but now Action News has learned that Joseph Lozito is suing the city of New York and its police department.

It was back on February 12th that Joseph Lozito was on his morning commute from Philadelphia to New York City where he works at the Lincoln Center box office. He noticed several officers on board the train, but he didn't know why.

"You could hear on their walkie-talkies that something was going on, they weren't just on to go to another stop, they were there for a reason," Lozito told Good Morning America back in February.

The reason turned out to be Maksim Gelman, a man police say killed his stepdad, ex-girlfriend and her mom just hours earlier. In his effort to escape, they say he stabbed strangers, hijacked cars and ran over pedestrians.

Lozito didn't know that when witnesses say they saw Gelman jump from one train to the other, then set his sights on him.

"He was about two or three feet away from me and he took out a giant knife and just looked at me and said, 'you're gonna die, you're gonna die', then he lunged at me,'" Lozito said.

Now, Lozito's lawyer says new evidence shows that instead of helping Lozito, the officers in the train locked the door when they saw Gelman, that they failed to draw their weapons and/or prevent in any way the actions of Gelman, and that they failed to timely come to his aid.

Fortunately, Lozito, a towering figure, is well versed in self-defense as he is a self-professed fan of watching mixed martial arts.

"I guess you watch it for over 20 years, you just pick up a few things by osmosis," Lozito said.

As Gelman lunged, Lozito managed to take him down with a simple leg swipe, but Gelman was able to do some damage with the large knife that he was swinging at Lozito's head.

"A lot of stitches, a lot of staples, but I think they're superficial and they'll eventually heal," Lozito said.

Lozito and his wife are claiming negligence on the part of the city of New York and its officers.

They are seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit which is being filed Friday in the New York Supreme Court.