(CNN)Michelle Alyssa Go, who was pushed to the her death in front of a Times Square subway train, is remembered as a compassionate woman who volunteered her time to help those less fortunate than her.
Times Square subway victim Michelle Alyssa Go remembered as a 'compassionate soul'
Go, 40, worked in mergers and acquisitions for the multimillion-dollar financial firm Deloitte Services LP and spent time helping women and children in at-risk communities as well the homeless.
Simon Martial, 61, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death, which shocked residents of a city that has seen crime rising during the pandemic and renewed calls for politicians to address a burgeoning homeless crisis.
"We are in a state of shock and grieving the loss of our daughter, sister, and friend," Go's family said in a statement Tuesday night, when hundreds of people poured onto Times Square for a candlelight vigil.
"We hope Michelle will be remembered for how she lived and not just how she died," the family added. "She was a beautiful, brilliant, kind, and intelligent woman who loved her family and friends, loved to travel the world and to help others. Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence, and we pray that she gets the justice she deserves."
The incident, which took place around 9:40 a.m., was "unprovoked and the victim does not appear to have any interaction with the subject," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Saturday.
Go had recently traveled to the Maldives with friends to celebrate her birthday and the New Year, according to her family.
"Michelle had a love of life, loved her family, and loved to meet and work with people," the family statement said.
"She made and kept up with countless friends from grade school to college to graduate school and at her workplaces. Her friends would tell us that Michelle was smart, funny, big hearted and a real role model. Michelle loved to travel the world to meet new people and different cultures."
Aside from her work with the financial services firm, Go volunteered for more than 10 years with the New York Junior League to help at-risk communities.
"The NYJL is greatly saddened to learn of the death of Michelle Go under such senseless and tragic circumstances," Dayna Barlow Cassidy, president of the nonprofit, said in a statement.
"With a focus on strengthening family units, she served many women and children within our New York community, helping them enrich their lives through education on nutrition," the statement said.
"Michelle will be missed by many friends. We call upon the city's leadership to urgently address the lack of mental health and other supports for underserved communities."
Cassidy said her volunteer work included helping the homeless.
"She clearly had a very strong passion for working one-on-one with these populations in need," said Cassidy, according to CNN affiliate WABC.
"She was a very compassionate soul who wanted to be rewarded by that direct impact and directly working with those individuals and watching them evolve over time."
Martial has a criminal background and three "emotionally disturbed encounters," NYPD Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox said. Minutes before the suspect allegedly pushed Go onto the tracks, he had approached another woman who later told police she felt like she was going to be pushed and walked away, Wilcox said.
Go was born on December 29, 1981, in Berkeley, California, according to her family's statement. She grew up with her parents, Justin and Marjorie Go, and brother Jefferey in Fremont, California.
In 1998, Go graduated from American High School in Fremont, where she was an Honor Society member and a cheerleader.
After graduating from UCLA with a degree in economics in 2002, Go worked for Ferguson Plumbing Supply in Pasadena as a customer service and sales representative, according to the statement.
In 2010, Go got an MB A from New York University's Stern School of Business. She worked at Barclays Capital before joining Deloitte, according to the statement.
At the vigil Tuesday night, coworker Kimberly Garnett remembered Go as kind and generous.
Garnett said Go always encouraged people to go and do things that matter, to contribute to a cause and to "like what you do and to have fun."