William Blount, 57, was arrested on Sunday. His address was listed by the NYPD as a former hotel that was transformed into a homeless shelter at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Video of the horrific assault shows a man, allegedly Blount, approach a woman from behind at the Queens Plaza subway station and try to kick her down the stairs.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
He then pulled out a hammer and struck her in the head about a dozen times before taking her bag and fleeing.
Blount has been arrested four times in New York City on robbery, burglary, larceny, and drug charges between 1983 and 1993.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams condemned the attack this week, identifying the victim as 57-year-old Dr. Nina Rothschild, a research scientist at the Department of Health.
"Violence against any New Yorker is unacceptable but an attack of a city worker who has dedicated her work to keeping people safe is particularly horrific," Adams tweeted on Friday.
She suffered a fractured skull, a brain bleed, and several head wounds. The NYPD said she was in critical but stable condition on Sunday evening.
Transit crime spiked 75.2% in NYC last month over January 2021, according to NYPD statistics.
Adams unveiled a "Subway Safety Plan" last week, which will deploy joint response teams throughout the subway system to offer direct support to the homeless.
"I hear it every time I’m on the subway system – people tell me about their fear of using the system, and we’re going to ensure that fear is not New York’s reality," Adams said about the plan.