‘Devastated’ subway driver after knife attack: ‘It’s like we signed up to die’

The subway operator bloodied by a knife-wielding woman who broke into his cab last week while he was driving the train told The Post the experience was so devastating he may quit the job entirely.

“Nobody has our back. It’s like we signed up to die,” said Eric Shepard, 41, a third-generation train operator who has been driving subway trains for less than two years.

“It’s like I’m alone. I really don’t think I am going back.”

Shepard said his attacker — allegedly 19-year-old Autumn Massaquoi of Yonkers, according to police — began kicking on the door to his cab as he pulled the 2-train out of Wall Street station at around 8:15 p.m. on Friday.

She somehow managed to breach the door, after which he says she “lunged” at him, and he had to defended himself with one hand while driving the train with the other.

“I used my right hand with my left just keeping her off of me until I could safely stop that train,” he said.

“I am sitting under the East River and I have a knife pulled at me. If I get stabbed I am dying there is no ambulance coming.”

The attacker then shoved Shepard into the back of the train, walked to the middle of the car, brandished her weapon — which he compared to a Swiss Army Knife — and charged back at him, he recalled.

She somehow made it inside the operator’s cab, so Shepard kicked her back into the passenger section.

He shut and locked his door and proceeded to the next station, Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights, where he hoped to get police help.

“Once I [pulled] up to the station, I didn’t know she was hiding in the second car. I go outside the door to look down the platform and she runs back and attacks me again,” he said.

Shepard said he’s loved trains since he was a kid, but that the experience gave him second thoughts about his choice of career.

“This was always what I wanted to do. I have always loved trains,” he said. “This is disturbing. I haven’t slept. I’m devastated.”

The attacker fled the scene. Massaquoi was later arrested at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, according to police. She was released without bail.

“She was just going crazy. Something is wrong. She was screaming ‘I hate life. I hate the world,’” he said.

“I’m not mad at her. She needs help I can’t give. My job is to move the train,” he added. “She needs some mental health treatment or something worse is going to happen.”

MTA spokesman Tim Minton called the incident “despicable.”

“Protecting employees and customers is why the MTA is hiring 500 police officers, and the NYPD assigned more than 1,000 officers to the subway system during overnight closing hours,” Minton said in a statement.

“The perpetrator should be aggressively prosecuted for an abhorrent attack on a front line transit hero in the middle of a pandemic.”

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