National News

Dec 5, 2012 12:37 PM by NBC News

Subway death photographer answers critics

The photographer who took a controversial photo of a man about to be hit by a New York City subway train is defending his decision to take the picture.

On Monday an argument between two men led one to push the other into the path of an oncoming train.

Outrage over the death was compounded when the New York Post published the photo of the victim moments before the train hit him.

Umar Abassi, the freelance photographer who snapped the photo, went on the Today Show Wednesday to defend himself against critics who say he should've helped the victim, 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han, instead of taking the photo.

"I saw the light in the distance of the approaching train and the only thing I could think of at that time was to alert the driver of the train with my camera flash," Abassi said.

Abassi says he did start running toward the victim, but was fearful the man who pushed Han was running in his direction and might push him as well.

Abassi also says there were others closer to Han.

"There was no way I could have rescued Mr. Han," Abassi said. "What really surprises me is the people that were the people who were 100 ft or 150 ft from Mr. Han, they did not reach out to try to help him."

Abassi offered condolences to Han's family, and says he sold the photograph, but won't say for how much.

New York Police have a suspect in Han's death in custody, but no charges have been filed yet.

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