Joseph Lozito fought for his life in subway face-off with knife-wielding madman Maksim Gelman
PUBLISHED ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2011 He came eye to eye with a killer - and decided it was...
PUBLISHED ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2011
He came eye to eye with a killer - and decided it wasn't time for him to die.
Instead, Joseph Lozito, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound mixed martial arts buff, helped bring knife-wielding maniac Maksim Gelman's deadly rampage to a shrieking halt aboard a subway train.
"I wasn't going to go down without a fight," Lozito said Sunday from his bed at Bellevue Hospital. "I took his best shots, and I am still standing."
Scarred by deep, jagged gashes to his head, hands and arms, Lozito described the chilling underground encounter that was the final act in Gelman's 28-hour, multiborough spree that left four dead and five injured.
"I'm lucky. Four people are dead. I am not," the married father of two young sons said with tears in his eyes.
The 40-year-old ticket seller at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall was near the end of his long daily commute from Philadelphia on Saturday morning when Gelman boarded the uptown No. 3 train at Penn Station.
Lozito noticed a commotion on the platform, where cops were hunting for the alleged killer, when Gelman strolled into the middle of the front car.
"You could tell this guy was shady," he said. "I had my eye on him."
Gelman made a beeline for the motorman's car and began pounding on the door.
"Let me in!" Gelman shouted, according to Lozito.
Two cops were inside. They opened the door and demanded, "Who are you?"
"I'm the police," Gelman blurted out.
"No, you're not!" one cop said, causing Gelman to turn tail and head back toward the rear of the car where Lozito was sitting.
As the wild-eyed killer drew close to Lozito, he uttered a chilling threat: "You are going to die!"
"He lunged at me," Lozito said.
Thanks to his many hours of watching mixed martial arts on television, Lozito says he "took him down" with a single leg sweep.
"I wouldn't win any style points for taking him down, but it did the job," he said.
Gelman reached under his jacket, pulled out an 8-inch Wusthof chef's knife and began slashing.
"I was trying to get control of his wrist. I didn't really feel anything," said Lozito, who warned Gelman that he had picked the wrong guy to fight. "You better hope that I die because I'm going to come kill you," Lozito says he told Gelman.
The cops, joined by an off-duty detective who ran into the car, pulled Gelman off and arrested him.
It was only then that Lozito realized he was wounded.
"The blood was pouring out of me everywhere," he said.
A good Samaritan rushed forward and helped apply pressure to Lozito's wounds.
"He kept telling me that I needed medical attention. He stayed with me," Lozito said. "I told him, 'You gotta get me out of here. I can't die on this train. I have a wife and two kids.'"
He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where doctors closed a 4-inch gash on the back of his head, an 8-inch wound behind his right ear, two 3-inch slashes on his left arm, a cut under his eye and two deep cuts to his thumb.
Lozito said he's no hero.
"I would have done what any other person would have done, but he picked me," he said. "I'm glad he picked me. There were a lot of women and children on the train who couldn't defend themselves. He picked me and instinct kicked in."
Lozito said he hopes Gelman faces up to his crime.
"I hope he hangs himself in jail," Lozito said. "I'm a big believer in karma."
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