The New Jersey cancer nurse who was knocked down by a deranged homeless mugger in Times Square died Saturday evening after clinging to life for a day and a half.
“They just pulled the plug on her. she’s gone,” Maria Ambrocio’s brother Carlito texted The Post at 8:28 p.m.
Ambrocio, 58, was walking through Times Square around 1:30 p.m. Friday with friends after accompanying a pal to the Philippines Consulate in Midtown and having lunch before heading home, friends and family said.
It was the same time that cops say Jermaine Foster allegedly went on a crime spree, grabbing a cell phone out of a 29-year-old woman’s hands at West 41st Street and Broadway and then slamming into Ambrocio as he fled. She was rushed to Bellevue with head trauma.
Emilia Cruz, 70, a nurse who worked at Bayonne Medical Center with Ambrocio, said she was walking alongside her as Foster knocked her down.
“There were lots of people and we were trying to maneuver,” Cruz told The Post, 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,” Cruz said.
“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.’”
Ambrocio’s cousin said she hadn’t seen Ambrocio for nearly two years because of the pandemic and the family was hoping for a happy reunion for the upcoming holidays.
“This is the first time we are seeing her since COVID and this is how we see her? It’s overwhelmingly sad,” she said.
Ambricio’s husband was at her side as family members and friends came to Bellevue.
“Her friend told me to hurry up because her blood pressure is dropping and she is brain dead. She doesn’t have much time, so I have to hurry,” Ambrocio’s younger brother Carlito Spa Maria said Saturday as he arrived at the hospital.
The native of the Philippines, who lives in Bayonne, was an oncology nurse who previously worked at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan.
A photo on Ambrocio’s Facebook page posted at the start of the pandemic shows her in full protective gear with the caption “I Cannot Stay at Home, I’m a Nurse.”
Her cousin said it was difficult to comprehend what happened.
“Crime has been rampant in the city. If they are mentally ill, why are they on the streets? They should be taken care of,” she said.
Foster, 26, who is homeless, was charged early Saturday morning with robbery and assault in connection with the incidents, police said.
His alleged reign of terror actually began 90 minutes earlier when Foster allegedly barged into a woman’s apartment on Sixth Avenue and 38th Street, police said Saturday.
The victim, who did not want to be identified, told The Post that she heard someone ringing the buzzers to get into the building. Thinking it was a food deliveryman, she let the man in and opened her door a crack to see who he was looking for.
“He busted my door open. He rushed into the apartment,” she said. “He basically was demanding money, like ‘Where’s the money? Where’s the money?’ “
She started screaming and told neighbors to call 911. The woman, who said she was petrified, also called 911.
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.
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