Jermaine Foster, 26, was charged with second-degree murder after he was indicted in court Sunday after the death of 58-year-old Maria Ambrocio from Bayonne.
Foster was originally charged with robbery and assault after authorities said he stole a cell phone and knocked over the woman in Times Square on Friday, but those charges were upgraded after Ambrocio died at the hospital Saturday.
She was the light of the family, and now Ambrocio’s family is amazed that they were at her hospital bedside.
For more than 24 hours, the 58-year-old nurse fought hard for her life.
“I’m more than crushed,” said her best friend, Maria Cruz.
Cruz can not understand that.
“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 after lunch Friday when police say Foster, who had just stolen a cell phone, knocked Ambrocio down. She went down hard.
“I heard a big thump, I said, ‘OMG.’ And when I looked down, I saw her crying, ”Cruz said.
She never woke up again.
Ambrocio’s family is having an unbelievably hard time saying goodbye to such a strong, inspiring woman, but they want the man who made all of this pay off.
The Philippine Consulate General in New York issued a statement calling for more police protection for Asian society and resources in the field of mental health for the homeless.
Local leaders ask why Foster – who police say is homeless – was on the streets in the first place and did not get the help he needed.
Both New York mayoral candidates, Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa, spoke on Sunday about the tragic death.
“The tragic death of Maria Ambrocio is the fault of our entire public safety ecosystem, including the lack of identification of dangerous people and getting them off the streets and into facilities,” Adams said.
“Crime has been rampant in this city,” Curtis Sliwa said. “Why are the mentally ill on the street? They need care.”
Foster was arrested Friday for two separate incidents – stealing his cell phone and breaking into an apartment. He is due back in court on Thursday.
The family wants Foster behind bars for the lifelong pain he has caused to take such a valuable life.
The Philippine consulate says they will hold a memorial service for Ambrocio in St. Petersburg. Francis Church on West 31st Street at 13:30 Monday.
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All rights reserved.