Jermaine Foster, 26, was charged with murder in the second degree after he was arraigned in court Sunday following the death of 58-year-old Maria Ambrocio from Bayonne.
Foster was initially charged with robbery and assault after authorities say he stole a cellphone and knocked down the woman in Times Square on Friday. Charges were upgraded after Ambrocio died in the hospital Saturday.
For more than 24 hours, the 58-year-old nurse fought hard for her life.
"I'm more than heartbroken," said her best friend, Maria Cruz.
Cruz can't make sense of it.
"We travel together, we work together, we have fun together," she said.
Cruz was there when the incident happened.
The lifelong friends, both nurses, were in Times Square on Friday when police say Foster, who had just stolen a cellphone, knocked down Ambrocio. She went down hard.
"I heard a big thud...and when I looked down, I saw her crying," Cruz recalled.
Ambrocio never woke up again.
Ambrocio's family is having an unimaginably tough time saying goodbye to such a strong, inspirational woman, but they want the man who caused all of this to pay.
Local leaders are asking why Foster - who police say is homeless - was on the streets in the first place and not getting the help he needed.
The Philippine Consulate General of New York released a statement calling for more police protection for the Asian community and mental health resources for the homeless.
Foster was arrested Friday for two separate incidents - stealing the cellphone and breaking into an apartment. He's due back in court on Thursday.