Family and friends of the New Jersey nurse who was knocked down by a mugger in Times Square Friday struggled to come to terms with the distressing incident and its tragic aftermath as she was taken off life support.
“They just pulled the plug on her. She’s gone,” Carlito Spa Maria told The Post of his sister Maria Ambrocio, who suffered head trauma in the violent incident.
“I watched them pull the plug. I was holding her hand to the very last pulse,” he said at about 8:30 p.m.
“They knew it wasn’t looking good so I said my goodbye to her last night a couple of times. I told her, ‘You will be with our mother and father.’”
Carlito said their father died of COVID-19 in the Philippines in April. He said he and Maria were waiting for the coronavirus crisis to calm down to travel there and bury him in the family plot.
“We were supposed to go home and give my father a proper burial and now she is gone. Now, I have to do it.”
Emilia Cruz, 70, worked with victim Ambrocio, 58, at Bayonne Medical Center, and was with her Friday afternoon in Times Square.
The incident that killed her happened around 1:30 p.m. as Ambrocio and Cruz were walking up Broadway just past West 41st Street with Cruz’s brother and another friend after running some errands and eating lunch, Cruz told The Post.
“There were lots of people and we were trying to maneuver,” Cruz said, adding she saw the suspect being chased.
“I heard a big thump like something hit the concrete and, you know, it was loud so I said, ‘Wow, oh My God. What’s that?’ and I looked down and I saw her blouse, I didn’t see the face and I said, ‘Oh my God, Ning,’ I call her Ning. I said ‘Ning, what happened? Wake up,’ and she was out.
“She was already unconscious. She is not answering me. I keep picking her up. She was frothing from her mouth. And I said, ‘Call 911.’
“I don’t know if I was crying … was all emotion. I’m in shock, if you ask me.”
A bystander came over and tried to help, and another person said they had already called emergency workers, according to the heartbroken friend.
“Maria was flat on her back. She wasn’t bleeding at all. Her eyes were closed,” the emotional woman said.
“I cannot describe the feeling because everybody is different but when it’s close to you, to your heart … we are always together, we travel together, we work together,” Cruz said through tears.
“I’m speaking right now, I try to put a brave face to everyone because I’m a nurse so this is what we do every day when I work and I’m with patients and families but it’s different when it’s closer to you,” Cruz said at the hospital, while Ambrocio was clinging to life support.
“I want her to be in peace. I know there is no turning back. There is no hope.”
Jermaine Foster, 26, who is homeless, was charged early Saturday morning with robbery and assault in connection with the incidents, police said.
A distraught and barely audible Cruz struggled to share her feelings on the suspect.
“I don’t care what he does or what he did, you know, the only thing that I care about is that he took my friend away from me, from her family, from the people that love her so much, from a lot of circle of friends that we have,” she said.
Carlito had much stronger words for Foster, who had broken into a woman’s apartment right before the Times Square attack, police said.
“We want justice. I want him to be locked up for a very long time so he that he cannot hurt any more people. Throw away the keys so he won’t be able to get out anymore.”
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