A subway rider in New York City who was randomly stabbed to death while dozing off on the train has been identified as a well loved soccer player. Akeem Loney, 32, was stabbed several times in the neck in an unprovoked attack on Sunday on the No.2 northbound train as it came into Penn Station just shortly after midnight. 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials described the incident as an “absolutely horrible crime”. “We are working with the NYPD and will do everything possible to cooperate with their search for this perpetrator, and help make sure our subways are safe," MTA Spokesperson Aaron Donovan said.

According to the New York Post, surveillance images released by authorities showed the suspect fleeing the station wearing black pants and shoes, a white baseball hat, grey jacket, a white shirt with an orange and black checkered hood, and a black face mask.  The unidentified man was last seen running away on 34th Street and has not been located since.  

Loney, who was said to be a gifted soccer player, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Police said investigations on Loney's death cited how the victim had been struggling with homelessness and had no place to live at the time he was stabbed. Friends of Loney expressed their devastation over his senseless death, as they recalled how he was always eager to help others, notably immigrants who were going through rough patches. 

Loney is remembered by friends and fellow team players as an incredible soccer player. He played for the local league of Street Soccer USA, an organization that assists homeless people through the sport. Affectionately known to friends as “Lonny”, he was known to be quite active in his Bronx community of Allerton even while he struggled to get his life back on track. 

The MTA has since called on the NYPD to remain visible in the subway after an earlier unprovoked slashing that took place on board a southbound A train at West 4th Street seven hours before Loney’s fatal stabbing. The male victim was said to have suffered a cut to his face with an unknown object. 

Despite the reported reduced subway crimes which has reached an all time low in 25 years, the MTA said that these recent violent attacks are not reflective of an overall pattern. 

nyc-780376_960_720 Representation Image NYC Subway Stairs MTA SoFuego/ Pixabay