Man Tried to Push Kids In Front of Moving Train, Cops Say

David Howard, of Wyckoff, was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with attempted murder after mother and grandmother of Glen Rock children tackled Howard to the ground and held him until cops arrived, authorities say

have charged a Wyckoff man with attempted murder after he allegedly tried to push two Glen Rock boys in front of a moving train at the Ramsey Main Street train station, Police Chief Bryan Gurney said Tuesday.

David Howard, 48, was arrested Monday afternoon after allegedly grabbing two passengers waiting for the train and “moving them towards the train tracks while the train was still moving towards the station,” Gurney said. Howard was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault and aggravated assault on a police officer, according to Ramsey Police.

The passengers, 7- and 9-year-old brothers from Glen Rock, were waiting for the train with their mother and grandmother when the two got up to get a better view of the approaching train, police said.

Howard allegedly grabbed the 7-year-old in a headlock and the 9-year-old by the shoulder and dragged them toward the train, Gurney said.

The boys’ "mother and grandmother immediately were able to stop Howard from moving the children towards the track. The children were able to break away from Howard and the mother and grandmother tackled Howard and held him until the police arrived,” Gurnery said.

Howard appeared to be intoxicated and possibly under the influence of other drugs at the time of the incident, police said.

Ramsey officer Thomas Banta, Lt. David Stitz and Sgt. Timothy Flanagan responded to the scene Labor Day afternoon. During the arrest, Howard allegedly spit in Banta’s face, police said.

Howard has been remanded to the Bergen County Jail on $500,000 bail.

The incident is still under investigation by the Ramsey PD and the New Jersey Transit Police Department, under the command of Chief Christopher Trucillo.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Elizabeth Cox September 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Holy Crap!
Gary Stevens September 04, 2012 at 04:32 PM
This could have been tragic. I would like to applaud the quick thinking action and courage of the Mom, the Grandmother and the two kids. I would also like to give them a gift of one month of TaeKwonDo lessons here at my school. I do not know who they are, but if you do, please let them know of this gift. Thanks. Gary Stevens
No One September 04, 2012 at 04:39 PM
What? No. No no no. No. Why. What? NO.
Patti McCarthy September 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I totally agree! So courageous! And Mr. Stevens, I applaud you as well! What a wonderful gift! Patti McCarthy
Patricia Little September 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I just can't understand what is happening to our world. Everything is going down hill faster and faster. I blame a lot of this on the economy. People get crazy because they don't know where the next buck is coming from. Have you ever seen so many breakins or people stealing from stores? What next?
JAFO September 04, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Very kind offer Gary.
Barbara September 04, 2012 at 06:16 PM
These kids must be traumatized, TaeKwonDo lessons is the perfect thing to help empower them, my kids went to brown belts and they are very secure in any "bad situation". Hopefully these kids, the mother and grandmother can recover from this horrific incident.
Mike Kammen September 04, 2012 at 07:02 PM
This is why Corporal Punishment is needed in our society. This guy should be strung up and lashed a couple dozen times...
Gary Stevens September 04, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Not only the kids, I would assume that the mom and grandmother are also traumatized. I agree that TaeKwonDo is a great release of stress and frustration for all ages. I hope they take me up on my offer of a free month of classes for each of them.
jp1 September 04, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Pat L this has nothing to do with the economy.
Ridgewooder September 04, 2012 at 07:27 PM
He should be locked up. FOREVER.
James Kleimann September 04, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Along with the guy who allegedly assaulted an officer; the guy who allegedly stole baby formula to buy heroin; the alleged lemonade stand flasher, right?
Craig Hueneke September 04, 2012 at 07:33 PM
And now we just have to do is wait for some hack attorney to step up to represent this speck of dirt and claim that he is a VICTIM of society and that it's everyone's fault but his. Screw that! Guilty.. to the gallows!! ...NEXT CASE! I am shocked!!! I can not believe what I just read!
Ridgewooder September 04, 2012 at 08:08 PM
jp1 September 04, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Not a big fan of this guy, but everyone has there day in court. This is not N. Korea or China.
Harlan Consider September 05, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I don't believe it's the economy. What's different today is we all plugged into endless news sources. Today, we get local news more or less as it happens. We've always had incidents involving thieves, nuts, drunks, junkies, teenage delinquents, etc. Previously, these incident might make it to the local once a week paper, but now we have news blogs reporting from the scene. As for this guy, just like the recent flasher, I suspect we will soon learn that he has a history of mental health issues and was off his meds. Another good thing about the old days was that we used to institutionalize these types. Now, they all live among us.
JAFO September 05, 2012 at 11:36 AM
If you're caught red handed, why do you deserve a day in court? I'm all for "innocent until proven guilty", but I think being caught in the act is "proven guilty".
Flygrl September 05, 2012 at 01:16 PM
All good points but this man is ill. I am certainly not justifying his actions. Drugs, alcohol or mental illnesses are also sicknesses. Sad. Hope he can get help. The scary thing is...if he doesn't get help and what happens next time.
Craig Hueneke September 05, 2012 at 01:39 PM
You're right he should have his day in court.. To be told that he is a lunatic and a danger to society therefore he is going to be hung! When you're caught in the act, and there are more than sufficient witnesses to address the "preponderance of doubt"requirements, all rights to a "fair trial" should be barred. The problem today is that the legal system is too easily beat on technicalities and political correctness and put in front of judges that are too arrogant to see that the law and those who defend it are being turned into the wrong doers. A very HIGH RANKING FEDERAL JUDGE once told me.. "The U.S. Court System has become a system where there are no fact, there are no lies, but just data to be manipulated in anyone's favor.." And unfortunately that is oh so true!
RdgwdGRock September 05, 2012 at 01:58 PM
tie him to the train tracks and let the fun begin. when the express train comes rumbling along the tracks, his mental faculties will quickly come back and he will plead quilty
Gary Stevens September 05, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I am conflicted by what you are saying. I also believe that his actions warrant a severe punishment, although I'm not sure I agree with strapping him down to the train tracks. BUT think of it this way: What if he was your favorite brother who had a breakdown or some sort of mental lapse, would you want the masses to convict him without a trial and to send him to prison for life without any psychiatric evaluation or help? It is easy to condemn such potentially bad behavior when we don't know the individual, but if he were a member of our family we would want him to get help not be put to death.
RdgwdGRock September 05, 2012 at 03:50 PM
my comment was meant as a sardonic viewpoint to other comments. Too bad you don't understand that
Marc D September 05, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I took most of this week off to be with my kids just before school starts. As my youngest and I walked past the municipal building to the library there was a policeman dealing with a woman parked near the bus stop who was obviously is some sort of mental distress. We then made our way to the library were there were two more officers dealing with a rather ominous looking man who appeared homeless and mentally ill. Then my daughter brings up the patch on the computer in the library about this encounter which could have been deadly. It is kind of hard when you 12 year old daughter looks to you and asks “are we safe and it anyone going to hurt our family?”. It certainly made for a quality time conversation about being alert to your surrounding and to be careful of strangers, yet still taking time to enjoy life. A hard father/daughter talk but well worth it.
JAFO September 05, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Q: "What if he was your favorite brother who had a breakdown or some sort of mental lapse, would you want the masses to convict him without a trial". A: Yes. If he was caught in the act, then there should be no trial. I agree he should receive the help he needs, but that shouldn't require a trial where he gets to plead non-guilty.
Craig Hueneke September 05, 2012 at 07:30 PM
JAFO I respect your point. However, if it was my "favorite brother" I would be sure to get him help or make sure that he is not in any position to hurt someone or himself. It is NOT society's problem to care for the mentally ill, nor is it our responsibility to forgive them for their deadly actions. As cold as that sounds, it is the truth. I am not going to sit here and feel bad for someone who tried to KILL two young children. Just as you ask us to look at if from a brother's point of view.. Look at it from that mother and grandmother's shoes... I know if it were my kids (or anyone's kids for that matter) and I was there, he would most likely of been the one who ended up dead on the tracks or in the LEAST, having my shoe surgically removed from his colon and my wedding band and wrist watch from his throat! This feel sorry for the drugged up, drunks, mentally ill crap is what is allowing these horrific things to happen! I GUARANTEE you this guy has some sort of violent past, but because he is "sick", the agencies that address these issues hands have become tied and therefore can not do what is needed, again because he is "sick". Say what you want, but if this was 30 years ago he would of been sent to Bergen Pines and kept there to make sure he is not a danger to himself or anyone else.
Craig Hueneke September 05, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Marc D- Amen my man! As I say.. "It's an ugly lesson in life, but an important one....unfortunately.."
Irene September 05, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Well said Gary - and very nice of you to offer the lessons!


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