CTA’s Get Their Due from Gov. Hochul: Honored for Sunset Park Incident Actions

IB ImageAPRIL 27 – CTA Charlene Gardner, who was at 36th Street in Sunset Park when shots were fired aboard a Manhattan-bound N train, and CTA Angel Oquendo, who was at 25th Street on the R line, were honored by NYS Governor Kathy Hochul and MTA brass as part of a group of NYCT employees who responded to the April 12 incident.

Stations VP Robert Kelley was also on hand as the CTA’s had their names read out and were handed proclamations by Governor Hochul and MTA CEO Janno Lieber. They gave accounts of what happened to the Union.

In addition, N and R train crews were also honored at the event, along with Staff Analysts represented by TWU Local 100 and working in the MTA's digital communications unit.

Charlene Gardner said, “I was working overtime, doing my job, scrapping and pulling [a broom]. I was in the middle of the southbound platform. I heard a commotion. I turned and saw customers taking pictures of smoke coming out of the front end of a train. I proceeded to make my way in, with my scrap pan and broom.

“As I made it to the staircase, cops, and MTA officials with vests came running down both staircases. They were saying, we want to evacuate immediately. A cop said, “Do you work here?” I told her I did. She said, “Whatever you need to do, get out of here now, this is an emergency.” I did what she said.

“I secured my equipment, ran up the stairs, and saw the clerk leaving the booth. The mezzanine had a few blood spots on it. People had scattered. For those who didn’t have directions, who were in panic mode, I told them, “You guys need to leave the station.”

“There were guys coming into the station. I said, Guys, you need to get out of here.” I got to the top of the staircase. Police hadn’t barricaded it off yet. Guys were saying I’m missing my train, I said, “no, the station’s closed,” and that was it until they barricaded it.  It was a long day.

Angel Oquendo arrived at the 25th Street station just after the incident occurred. He recalls that “There was a big crowd coming up the stairs. Cops were pushing people out of the way. They asked me if I could get some of that caution tape, and I did. I got it and I started directing customers to alternate transportation, to go 5th Avenue and take the bus. “

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