Mr. Benkada stumbled out of the N at 36th Street, his black sweatpants soaked in blood gushing from a hole slightly larger than a quarter in his right knee. The station has only one exit, at the back of the Manhattan-bound platform. But as others around him fell to the ground, he dragged himself to the exit and up the first flight of stairs before two firefighters helped him to the street.
“I was just so shocked,” he said. “The pain hit me after that.”
Mr. Benkada grew up blocks from the 36th Street station, an American-born son of an Algerian family, who embraced both hip-hop and family traditions. He was the youngest of three siblings and had played his favorite sport, football, at New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst. After graduating, he immediately went to work in hotels, including the Bentley and the Williamsburg Hotel.
Now he’s worried about making ends meet as he hasn’t been given any free time while he recovers. The bullet broke his knee. Doctors at NYU Langone Hospital in Sunset Park underwent surgery after the attack, but he will likely require another operation. He practices walking with crutches and tries to cope with the pain. His sister has created a GoFundMe page to solicit donations while he undergoes physical therapy and counseling.
Only one other gunshot victim has been publicly identified: Rudy Pérez, a 20-year-old construction worker who was also on his way to work and was shot in the leg. Mr Pérez is a Guatemalan citizen who has lived in New York since last year, the consulate said in a statement.
mr. Pérez said in an interview on Tuesday that he was on his way to Manhattan when his subway began to fill with smoke. He didn’t even feel it, he said, when a bullet hit him in the left leg. He was treated and released from a local hospital.
“I was afraid,” said Mr. Perez. “I just wanted to get out of there. It’s everything I wanted. Everyone was in a panic.”
Mr Pérez had to be helped out of the train by another passenger. At the hospital, doctors told him he should be able to walk again in about a month. Until then, he’s not sure how he’ll be able to work.