Community Mourns Nurse Knocked Over, Killed in Times Square

Roni Robbins

October 12, 2021

The outpouring of support for a longtime New Jersey oncology nurse who died after being knocked to the ground in Times Square by a fleeing cellphone thief culminated in a mass Monday in New York City. The mass was promoted by the local consulate general of the Philippines.

Maria Ambrocio

Maria Ambrocio, 58, was visiting Times Square with a friend on October 1 when she was shoved to the ground by a man who reportedly snatched a cellphone and was running away. He later collided with a police officer before being arrested.

Ambrosio, of Bayonne, New Jersey, was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan with a traumatic brain injury. She was taken off life support a day later.

Jermaine Foster, 26, was charged with murder and robbery and is scheduled to appear in New York Criminal Court Thursday, according to court records.

Ambrocio, who had been a nurse for 25 years at Bayonne Medical Center in New Jersey, treated cancer patients, even during the height of the pandemic. The medical community at the hospital posted on social media, "Maria's untimely death is a profound loss to us all, especially those whose lives she touched each day at Bayonne Medical Center."

New York organizations expressed sympathy after the incident. Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement shared with Medscape Medical News, "Our deepest condolences to the family of Maria Ambrocio. The killing of Maria Ambrocio near Times Square highlights one of our city's greatest public safety challenges, the proliferation of people with untreated mental illness and drug addictions on our streets committing crimes without an effective strategy to address them. Our city needs to come together and solve these problems and those of us who work in these areas are willing and able to help. Let her death not be in vain."

The New York Philippine consulate reported on its Facebook page that Ambrocio had just visited its office when the incident occurred. "We grieve with the rest of the Filipino Community over the death of our kababayan [countryman], Maria Ambrocio, a 58-year-old health frontliner from Bayonne, New Jersey....

"Maria's passing was announced shortly after she was removed from life support a few hours ago. She had been on life support for the head trauma she sustained on Friday afternoon after she was knocked down by someone who was described as a mentally disturbed homeless man. Maria was walking with a kababayan near Times Square after visiting the Philippine consulate general when she was struck by the suspect, who was reportedly being chased after grabbing a mobile phone from someone."

On the day she passed away, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis shared an emotional message on Facebook: "I'm asking for all Bayonne people to say a prayer for Maria Ambrocio. Maria, an Oncology nurse at Bayonne Medical Center, was viciously attacked in an unprovoked assault by a deranged man in Times Square yesterday.

"Please keep Maria and her family in your thoughts through these difficult days."

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