BAYONNE, NJ (CBSNewYork) – The death of the oncology nurse Maria Ambrocio is sending shock waves throughout our area.
Ambrocio, 58, died after being knocked to the ground in Times Square on Friday, allegedly by a man who ran away after robbing another woman.
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Jermaine Foster, 26, was arrested and is now charged with murder in Ambrocio’s death.
“She was right here. I mean, it’s really destructive. I have no words. I just wanted to cry, ”said Ambrocio’s brother Carlito Sta Maria.
“It is a terrible thing. I do not know what to tell you. I can not feel it now because she’s gone. She is gone, ”said her friend Emilia Cruz.
Cruz said they had just finished lunch when a man plowed into Ambrocio outside a pizzeria. Police said the man was chased after stealing a woman’s phone.
According to police, Foster pushed Ambrocio. She tore her skull as her head hit the sidewalk.
Foster took off, but was arrested a few minutes later, police said.
Sources said CBS2 Foster was also involved in a robbery in the home invasion shortly before the incident in a woman’s apartment near 38th Street and Sixth Avenue.
Sources said Foster was also arrested last month in Midtown after he allegedly groped a woman on the street. He was charged with coercive assault and sent to a hospital for a psychiatric assessment.
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“Our deepest sympathy to the family of Maria Ambrocio. The killing of Maria Ambrocio near Times Square highlights one of our city’s biggest public security challenges, the spread of people with untreated mental illness and drug abuse on our streets committing crime without an effective strategy to tackle them. Our city must come together and solve these problems, and we who work in these areas are willing and able to help. Do not let her death be in vain, “said Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance.
Ambrocio’s loved ones call her death meaningless. They do not understand why the suspect was on the street if he had recently arrested.
“Heartbreak. Yes, and I’m angry. I’m angry with the person who did this to my sister. We want justice,” Sta Maria said.
“She was any friend anyone would want. She was a very kind and caring person, extremely sincere, honest and loving, ”Cruz said.
Ambrocio’s family said she immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in the late 1980s and often sent money home to her family.
She was married, with four stepchildren and several grandchildren.
Ambrocio was a committed member of his church and Filipino community and was passionate about being an oncology nurse at Bayonne Medical Center, travel and music.
CEO of CarePoint Health, Dr. Achintya Moulick, published the following statement about Ambrocio:
We are deeply saddened that our beloved colleague Maria Ambrocio, a beloved member of our CarePoint Health family, has passed away. She spent 25 years as an oncology nurse at Bayonne Medical Center, and her untimely death is a profound loss for all of us, especially those whose lives she touched every day.
Maria dedicated her life to helping others, caring for patients and serving the community. She was caring, compassionate and outgoing. She loved taking pictures and spending time with friends and family. At work, she was generous and always fostered teamwork and positivity. Maria always appreciated those she worked with, and was grateful for the camaraderie and teamwork. Another nurse who worked with Maria remembered her focus on patients: “Spend less time complaining and more time working, we have to take care of the patients.” It really was who Maria was, “patient care first” was her motto.
We struggle to reconcile how this incredible nurse is suddenly no longer with us. Maria gave so much of her life to her community and patients, including her incredible victims during the pandemic. Her life and commitment to patients and society inspires us. We are committed to ensuring her example and legacy that drives us to improve patient care in the communities we serve.
Those who knew her described Mary’s deep spiritual connection; this provided peace and security for many in the CarePoint Health family last night. We’ll miss her a lot. Our heart and deepest sympathy go to the Ambrocio family. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.
CarePoint Health provides grief counseling to our staff to help deal with this terrible loss.
A memorial service for Ambrocio will be held on Monday afternoon.
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CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.