Marine Vet Daniel Penny Reveals Why He Stepped In When Fellow Subway Passengers Were Threatened


Marine Corps veteran Daniel Penny said in a new interview he was scared in the moments leading up to his fatal encounter with Jordan Neely on a New York City subway last month.

Penny, 24, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the May 1 death of Neely, 30, a mentally disturbed homeless man with a lengthy criminal record.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of the crime as charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

In an interview with Fox News published Thursday, Penny declined to go into detail about the chokehold in which he put Neely after the man allegedly threatened to harm passengers.

According to numerous accounts, an erratic Neely boarded the train, began to threaten people and said he was prepared to spend the rest of his life in prison.

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“If [Neely] had carried out his threats, he would have killed somebody,” Penny told Fox News.

He also said, “Between stops, you’re trapped on the train, and there’s nowhere to go. You can try to move away, but you can only do so much on a packed car.”

In his reaction to Neely, he said, “I was scared. I looked around, and I saw older women and children, and they were terrified.”

Penny decided not to share any further details about the physical encounter.

He did say he was traumatized by the fatal encounter and had not ridden in a subway car since the incident.

Penny also offered some more information about his background, telling Fox News he grew up around 9/11 first responders and he has always been drawn to service, which was why he joined the Marines.

Penny recounted that Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel spoke at his high school after students had read his autobiography, “Night,” about his time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

“One of the overall messages that he talked about was that good people did nothing,” he said of Wiesel’s message. “It’s a lesson that I carry with me to this day.”

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In addition, Penny said he has been praying for Neely’s family.

“They’ve been in my prayers. I feel for their loss,” he said. “Like Jordan, they’re also victims of a failed system.”

Penny also thanked donors who gave millions of dollars to his legal defense fund through a GiveSendGo campaign.

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“I was working two jobs as a student,” he told Fox News. “My family doesn’t come from money, so I’m incredibly thankful for this fund and all the people who have supported me.”

He said he does not regret his decision to intervene when Neely made the threats.

Neely reportedly suffered from mental illness and had been arrested at least 40 times in recent years. Some of those arrests were for violent crimes against women, children and the elderly.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.