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Woman, 84, dies after being pushed off Little Tokyo Metro platform, officials say [Updated]

Pushed Authorities are saying that a push sent an 84-year-old woman to her death after she fell onto the tracks at the Metro station in Little Tokyo.

[Corrected at 1:33 p.m.: Coroner's officials initially reported that the woman was 86. She was 84.]

Betty Sugiyama was standing on the platform at the Gold Line station on Sunday morning when another woman pushed her off, police said. Detectives said witnesses reported that Sugiyama did not provoke the attack.

Jackkqueline Pogue, 44, was arrested on the platform soon after, and is expected to be charged with murder, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

A motive was unclear Monday afternoon, as homicide detectives continued their investigation.

After the incident, Sugiyama was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died Sunday night. Assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said it appeared she was not struck by a train.

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-- Robert Faturechi

Photo: DMV via KTLA News

Click to visit The Times' interactive Homicide Report

 
Comments () | Archives (100)

We are so sorry to see this senseless act of violence towards one of our seniors.
We pray that your family and friends can find comfort in the fact that most of us are outraged by the acts of this 44 year old woman. I just hope that the Obama courts finally has the heart to do what they must - put this 44 year old woman away for life.

some old people are notorious, but this woman who pushed her should be charged fully. i mean really an old woman. sheeesh, bet you she didnt have respect for her own mom

Wow glad they caught the moron that murdered her Refreshing to hear

Gerald Sills is a first class idiot whose most likely a member of the tea party. I'll bet the thinks Obama is Muslim and was born in Kenya too (Do us all a favor and don't reproduce and pass on your stupid gene.

John I was thinking of Korea too when reading this article. I spent a year there and was thinking about how I used to stand close to the edge of the platform before they started putting up the glass about a year ago. Though Korea is generally much safer though..but still.. I WISH LA's metro was at least a quarter as nice as the Seoul Metro/Korail. truly was first class

stevor ... really ? because marijuana causes so many drug related deaths in America right ..

My condolences to the woman's family for this tradegy.

Advice: Be ware of where you are, the circumstances and people around you, including your environment, and do not ever be afraid to tell others to stop violating your personal space in waiting for and/or riding the train or bus.

There are several instances of crime happening on these trains and the buses. I have seen several being pushed, assaulted, and harrassed. Not to mention the thefts. I was a victim of theft of my wallet from my purse while boarding a bus in the downtown area over 20 years ago while also carrying an armload of needed diapers and other items for my baby. I also witnessed a father boarding the bus with 2 small daughters that he was making sure were seated on a crowded bus where an elderly man boarded afterwards and hit him on the rear-end with his cane to make him move further down the aisle. Other crimes I have witnessed include the break-in of a van and the stealing of the items inside of the van by 3 youths with a hammer, at the parking lot at the Florence Station patform of the Blue Line Train.

Please be aware that several of these riders and te people standin gon the platforms just do not care about their surroundings or the people, and that you must be prepared for that and guard your safety.

Several of us innocent are also being illegally harrassed by the law enforcement officers who board and assess the trains and platforms when a known felon is aboard, so also be aware of that and give yourself room to prepare to board and ride the train and bus safely.

Don't be afraid to ask the people around you to give you your personal space. I have had to actually put my hand on the chest and/or shoulder of some who have been too close to me, telling them to step back, in violating my personal space. I have also had to tell several to not touch me in begging for change to ride the train.

Be Safe!!!!!!!

The person who spoke of marijuana could have been right, Sevral of us have witnessed that there are several here in Los Angeles, CA who are drug abusers who are assaulting and harrassing innocent people and using and selling the drugs in the stations and on the platforms, and the police and Metro staff are very slow to react to this problem.

Do you actually ride these trains and buses? Are you attending and testifying at any of the hearings to give your actual accounts of the tradegies and problems you have witnessed? I have and will continue.

Prop 19 in California would have made marijuana legal in private homes an not out in metro stations. Today, people are illegally high in public anyway. Many smokers didn't even support Prop 19 because instead of a court hearing, they could've gotten many years in jail for smoking in public places around minors.

hate crime

Here in NY, this happens once every few years. Not often enough to prompt gates at every station, but enough to make riders ensure there's nobody standing behind them when the train comes in. Yes, it's always a crazy person.

Easy to be push off, bump by people in a hurry, faint, slip... some people with mental illness and besides the depth of the track without rail is an easy disaster...
been a LA train commuter for years and just by coming/running up and down from the stairs will get you tired easily... this tragedy is very minimal but expected to happen anytime specially for kids and elderly... hopefully our train officials notice this danger...

Ever since I saw an Emmy-Winning "Law and Order" episode about 10 years ago (on this very same subject), I always stand away from the edge of the platform when the train approaches.
If anyone saw that same episode, you know why it won an Emmy.

Prayers for Betty and her sister who was there when she was pushed. This is a terrible shock.

Awful. Such a horrible disrespect for human life. I hope that the Sugiyama family finds peace and justice. My thoughts go out to them.

It is devastating to read something like this, but in that part of town, sadly, I am not surprised. Chinese people are so used to being pushy and completely disregard personal space. It's as if they are still in China where looking out for #1 is just rule of thumb. I think that Mrs, Sugiyama let her guard down and was caught off guard. Poor thing, I hope she didn't suffer too much.

Stevor, and Gerald Sills.. Write what you must, just remember next time to hit the esc key after you're done instead of using your mouse to click "post".

My heartfelt condolences to the family of this poor woman. Merely judging by the surname ,locale and her age, I can only imagine what her life must have been like prior to this tragic ending. I know personally a few US citizens of Japanese descent who are among the most remarkable people i've ever met. What some of these people endured during WWII in the "relocation camps" was just unbelieveable. Yet throughout the war and hardships they faced together, not a one that I have ever been aware of, has shown bitterness toward the US. Many have respectfully stepped forward and contributed constructive and positive means of avoiding this reactionary behavior by helping to transform Manzanar and others into National Parks and by helping to create and voluntarily staff places like the Museum of Tolerance.

Essentially, here was a woman who was productive even in her latter years. Enough so to take the train to wherever she was going, only to have her life taken from her by a stranger who, for whatever reason, never considered her as a human being for a moment.

Is this Jackkqueline crazy, impaired, on drugs, recently or prematurely released? Not for us to decide. She's been apprehended and hopefully our system can handle the punishment in a manner that is acceptable to the family.

It is only their views and opinions that truly matter here. I hope that her family can be at peace and reflect how she may have lived rather than how she died.

No one can prepare themselves for this kind of occurence, one can only take solace in the thought that she sits high on a hill under cherry blossoms with those she has loved in the past.

Jakkqueline Pogue attacked my 80 year old mother 2 months ago at Pershing Square, luckily my mother is all right. The tragedy is that the police would not even file a report because she was mentally unstable and therefore would not make a difference. I wonder if it would have made a difference for Betty Sugiyama and her family; may she rest in peace.

I've taken one round trip ride on the Metro, and that was enough. Seemed like there were people on the train who basically lived on it.

Tried to take my 6 year old into the NoHo station once, she was so scared by the people hanging around, we scuttled that plan.

L.A. is not the place anymore.

Some jiggaboo taking out their frustration against one of the many superior races to them.

We've all heard of road rage, but subway rage is a newer phenomenon. My condolences to this lady's family who passed away. As to those who try to turn this unfortunate incident into something political (Gerald Sills) or xenophobic (Stevor), your IGNORANT comments say so much more about YOU, than about the person you are trying to insult. Have a nice day!

This is what you will get when we want the government to stop social services. The crazies will be released on the streets. I've seen the increase of them since the Reagan era. You get what you pay for people. Or should I say Palin Tea-Bagger sheeple?

You will find the woman who did the pushing is just another "nut case" someone released way to soon....

For some details on who Betty Sugiyama was personally, plus more details on what happened, here's an excerpt from rafu.com (Japanese American news) :

"...Sugiyama was a resident of Tokyo Villa apartments on Central Ave., where she resided with sister, Mary, and brother, John. She was born in Seattle and grew up in Little Tokyo. During World War II, Sugiyama was interned at Heart Mountain; her family returned to Little Tokyo after the war and opened Rafu Shoten, a general store on Weller St. After Rafu Shoten closed, she then worked at Kinokuniya Bookstore.

The crime was witnessed by the victim’s sister Mary, who was accompanying her to the train.

“It was Sunday morning and we were walking to take the Gold Line to Union Station on our way to spend the day in Long Beach,” said Mary, in an interview with The Rafu Shimpo. “When we were walking up, we saw that the train had already stopped at the station. As we were rushing to get on the train, there was this woman who was sitting on one of the benches, and all of a sudden, she jumped up and pushed my sister off the platform and onto the tracks.”

My condolences to the Sugiyama family. To commentator KellyBee, where in this article did it state that it was a Chinese person that pushed this poor soul off?

Put your racism on the shelf. This story is not about you or your ignorance.

The MetroLink is wide open where you board the trains and it is easy to fall onto the tracks or to be shoved onto the tracks. They should put up a safety fence with a gate to protect waiting passengers before boarding the trains.

Seriously, who pushes an 84 year old woman off a platform for no reason? Was it the influence of drugs? Cause that's the only reasonable explanation.

 
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