Who is Jay Reist? Columbia grad student, 29, on life support after 'suspected' NYC subway attack
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY: A graduate student remained on life support in the hospital on Wednesday night, July 27, as police, family members and friends tried to piece together what happened to him during a night out in Manhattan. Jay Reist, 29, is hospitalized with brain trauma after an alleged attack in a New York City subway. He is being monitored in the ICU at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights after he was allegedly struck in the back of his head last Friday, July 22.
Surveillance video showed Reist exiting a subway station on 15th street and 8th Avenue around 2 am before getting into an Uber. He started seizing while in the rideshare, prompting the driver to take him to the hospital, where he remains on a ventilator. According to The Daily Mail, Mayor Eric Adams called the Big Apple a national 'laughingstock' on Wednesday.
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Reist went out for drinks with friends in the Lower East Side on Thursday. He was pictured partying at Dream Baby on Avenue B before his injury. He was last seen in stable condition leaving the subway station early Friday morning. His mother, Louise Reist, suspects her aspiring actor son was attacked somewhere along the L line stops in Manhattan. She told NBC4, "I think that Jay was at the wrong place at the wrong time". Louise said she knew something had happened to Reist after he failed to return to their Inwood home and wasn't answering her text messages. "I called his number and a nurse answered the phone!" she recalled. The concerned mother said she found her son at the hospital where he was intubated and battling a brain injury.
"He’s just lying in bed needing machines to help him live," Louise said, adding that she is really angry about what happened to Reist. "I am not at all hating humanity, I have more gratitude now than I’ve had in a long time because of the way people are taking care of us," she said. "There is just an angry person out there." A GoFundMe is created by Resit's acting class to help raise money for his medical expenses. As of Friday morning, it had earned more than $80,759. The NYPD confirmed that a complaint has been filed and officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding Reist's injuries.
Columbia classmates said Jay Reist is an outspoken and active member of the LGBTQ+ community, reports Pix11. They fear he was the victim of a hate crime. “I and the rest of the Columbia community are immensely distraught over this,” a friend said. “Jay is an incredibly vibrant, thoughtful, caring, supportive human being”. "He’s gay and genderqueer, so we don’t know if it was related to that," the victim’s sister, Lisa Reist told CBS News. "He dances. He acts. He just has so much talent. He’s a really supportive sibling, like, we’re really close.” To date, Reist is breathing with the aid of a ventilator and has yet to open his eyes following last week’s mystery attack.