Brooklyn subway shoving suspect suffered from mental illness: family

Brooklyn subway shoving suspect suffered from mental illness: family

The homeless man charged with shoving a straphanger off a Brooklyn subway platform struggled with mental illness for years, his grandmother told The Post on Tuesday.

Michael Medlock, 33 — accused of pushing a 29-year-old Brooklyn man onto the tracks on Sunday — was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and was so problematic that he was barred by management from staying at his grandmother’s East New York apartment.

He has since been living on the streets, relatives and neighbors said.

“I have been having problems with him since the third grade,” Medlock’s grandmother, who would only give her name as Athense, said Tuesday.

“I am numbed right now,” she said. “I’m angry with the system. I tried and tried to get help for him. They said if he is not a danger to himself there is nothing they can do.”

Athense said when she called 311 “a lot of times” to get help for her grandson, including an instance when she was told he just needed to detox. When she grew afraid of her grandson she said she sought an order of protection but was turned down because he hadn’t actually threatened her.

As recently as two weeks ago he was taken to the hospital, but they refused to keep him there, she said.

“The last time he was in Kings County Hospital I told them to keep him there to get help,” she said. “The social worker called me and said it’s not a hotel…. Everywhere I went for help, they turned me down. I tried my best all by myself. There is nothing more I can do.”

She said she can’t watch surveillance footage of Sunday’s subway attack because it makes her cry.

“I’m sorry he hurt someone,” Athense said. “He is not a bad person. He needs help.”

Medlock was arrested outside his grandmother’s home at the Starrett City development around 12:30 a.m. Video shows a man identified as Medlock follow a couple off of the train and shove him onto the tracks before he walks away.

“He hasn’t been taking his medication — he has been off meds for about a year now,” said Jessica Rivera, a neighbor who said she’s known Medlock for about 20 years.

“He was doing some negative stuff around here so they kicked him out of Starrett City,” Rivera said. “He was breaking glasses, harassing people, cursing at anyone for no reason — just not acting normal.”

However, she said she had never known Medlock to physically attack someone before.

“He was aggressive to some people but it was more aggression with words than, you know, physically aggressive,” Rivera said. “That’s the first time I’ve actually seen him being physical with someone but I’ve seen him use words with people.”

But, she added, “I wasn’t surprised” by Sunday’s attack.

“I knew something like that was going to happen,” she added. “We all knew that something like that was eventually going to happen.”