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Bellmore Man Awaits Decision on Lawsuit Against NYC

Contends city failed to protect him after he aided in the apprehension of a serial murderer.

(Credit: Joseph Lozito)
(Credit: Joseph Lozito)
Joseph Lozito, a Bellmore man who helped take down a murderer on the Subway and sustained critical injuries on Feb. 12, 2011, is suing the New York Police Department for "failing to help him."

It was just a normal day for Lozito, who headed to the Hamilton, New Jersey Transit station to catch a train to New York City for work.

The Dunkin' Donuts news stand wasn't open yet when Lozito arrived, so he didn't buy his daily issue of the New York Post. Had it been open, he might have seen the face of 23-year-old Maksim Gelman.

Gelman was making the news for his alleged Brooklyn killing spree, which included stabbing three people to death, hijacking cars and running over a pedestrian. Police had been pursuing him overnight Friday in a city-wide manhunt through the dark subway tunnels. 

Meanwhile, Lozito, 40, was making his way through Pennsylvania Station to the No. 3 train. Usually Lozito, who lived in Levittown from 1984-95 and attended Division Avenue High School, took the No. 1 train to his job at Lincoln Center, but because of construction the No. 1 was running express, so he went to the No. 3 platform.

Just moments after he stepped on the train, Lozito was approached by Gelman, who said "You are going to die," before lunging at him with a knife.

"I was in shock," said Lozito. "It's something you see in a movie. I knew my only chance of survival was to defend myself."

Lozito, a longtime fan of MMA fighting, took Gelman down by his legs.

"Everything happened so quickly," he said. "It was more survival than anything technical."

Luckily, two police officers were in the motorman's compartment of the subway when the attack occurred, and by the time Gelman hit the ground the male officer was on top of him, he said.

Lozito, who suffered several lacerations to the head, face, left hand and left tricep in addition to a black eye and abrasions on the knees in the struggle, was then told by the officer to sit down until he could get medical attention.

Due to the search for Gelman, policemen were down in the tunnels and the electricity had been turned off, Lozito said. All officers had to be removed from the tunnels before the power could be restored safely, delaying his access to medical aid.

"After the incident happened and I was just sitting there, I just wanted to see my family," he said. "It's really that simple."

Lozito said the fellow commuter noticed a deep gash in the back of his head and applied steady pressure with napkins to stop the bleeding until he could be transported to Bellevue Hospital from the 42nd Street stop.

Lozito later found out that an officer testified that he thought Gelman took out a gun instead of a knife, and that's why they didn't immediately assist him.

"That's when I decided to file a lawsuit," he said. "We were just in complete shock. It's like the attack was happening all over again."

The city has filed a motion to dismiss the case, and Lozito is awaiting a judge's decision, which should come any day now. 

Lozito's story was also featured in a YouTube piece by wearechange.org, which you can view by clicking here.

"I'm very fortunate to know some really good cops," Lozito said. "You have some really bad apples, but you have some people who really care. Unfortunately, none of them were on the train with me that day."

What do you think about Lozito's case? Does it have merit? Tell us in the comments section below.
randy February 13, 2013 at 06:40 PM
thank God your still alive, sueing doesn't solve anything at this point.
Peter Elias May 19, 2013 at 05:28 AM
if you hear this mans side of the story you will understand why he is suing. he claims they didn't come out and help till he had the serial killer pinned and he had been cut multiple times. the police could have been out much sooner but decided to wait for whatever reason
Sergio TheBoss September 05, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Dont you realize they are not there to protect and serve, they just serve. Serve the warrants and arrest the people after the crime. Makes complete sense why we pay so much in taxes

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