After clinging to life for a day and a half after being knocked down by a psychotic homeless mugger in Times Square, a New Jersey oncology nurse died Saturday evening.
“They’ve just turned off the power to her.” At 8:28 p.m., Maria Ambrocio’s brother Carlito texted The Post, “She’s gone.”
Friends and family said Ambrocio, 58, was walking through Times Square with friends around 1:30 p.m. Friday after accompanying a friend to the Philippines Consulate in Midtown and having lunch before heading home.
Jermaine Foster allegedly embarked on a crime spree at the same time, taking a cell phone from a 29-year-old woman’s hands near West 41st Street and Broadway and slamming into Ambrocio as he fled.
Emilia Cruz, a nurse who worked with Ambrocio at Bayonne Medical Center, said she was walking alongside her when Foster struck her.
Cruz told The Washington Post, “There were a lot of people, and we were trying to maneuver,” adding that she observed the suspect being chased.
“I heard a huge thump, like if something had hit the concrete, and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, oh My God.’ ‘What exactly is it?’ I looked down and saw her top but not her face, so I said, ‘Oh my God, Ning,’ as I call her,” Cruz explained.
“‘Ning, what happened?’ I asked. ‘Wake up,’ she said, and she was gone. She had already passed out. She isn’t responding to my questions. I continue to pick her up. Her mouth was foaming with saliva. ‘Call 911,’ I said.
Because of the pandemic, Ambrocio’s cousin said she hadn’t seen him in nearly two years, and the family was hoping for a joyous reunion for the holidays.
“This is our first encounter with her after COVID, and this is how we view her?” She described the situation as “overwhelmingly sad.”
As family and friends flocked to Bellevue, Ambricio’s spouse was by her side.
“Her friend warned me that I needed to hurry because her blood pressure was plummeting and she was going to pass out.” Carlito Spa Maria, Ambrocio’s younger brother, said Saturday as he arrived at the hospital, “She doesn’t have much time, so I have to hurry.”
The Philippines native, who now lives in Bayonne, worked as an oncology nurse at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan.
Ambrocio’s Facebook profile has a photo of her in full protective gear with the phrase “I Cannot Stay at Home, I’m a Nurse,” which was posted at the onset of the pandemic.
What happened, according to her relative, was impossible to comprehend.
“There has been a lot of crime in the city. Why are they on the streets if they are mentally ill? “They should be looked after,” she stated.
Foster, a homeless man, was charged with robbery and assault in connection with the occurrences early Saturday morning, according to police.
According to authorities, Foster’s claimed reign of terror began 90 minutes earlier, when he allegedly barged into a woman’s apartment on Sixth Avenue and 38th Street.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, told The Washington Post that she heard someone ringing the doorbell. She allowed the man in and opened the door a little to see who he was looking for, thinking it was a food deliveryman.
“He pried up my door.” She stated, “He ran into the apartment.” “He was basically demanding money, asking, ‘Where is the money?'” ‘Where’s the cash?’
She began screaming and yelled for help from her neighbors, who dialed 911. The woman, who claimed to be terrified, dialed 911 as well.
Foster began breaking things in the apartment and then bizarrely sat on her couch without saying a word.
The victim said she grabbed the crazed intruder’s phone as evidence, but that only riled him up.
“He started screaming ‘I’m an African prince! I’m an African prince!’ ” she said.
The brave victim, who is in her 30s, said she tried to keep Foster in her studio apartment until the cops arrived, but he ran off.
“Honestly speaking, I knew he was on something so I didn’t want to do too much to trigger him,” she said. “I didn’t know what he had on him, if he had a weapon.”
The woman called Ambrocio’s fate “heartbreaking.”
“I tried to hold him as long as I could for the cops,” she said, saying the encounter went on for 20 to 25 minutes. “This area, it’s a crisis in Midtown right now with the homeless and the drugs. It’s not being addressed.”
Foster was charged with robbery and burglary in connection with the break in, police said.
He was yet to be arraigned by Saturday afternoon.