Mr. Benkada limped out of the N at 36th Street, his black sweatpants drenched in blood gushing from a hole a little bigger than a quarter in his right knee. The station only has one exit, at the back of the Manhattan-bound platform. But as others fell to the ground around him, he dragged himself to the exit, and up the first flight of stairs, before two firefighters helped him up to the street.
“I was just so shocked,” he said. “The pain hit me after.”
Mr. Benkada grew up blocks away from the 36th Street station, an American-born son of an Algerian family, embracing both hip-hop and family traditions. He was the youngest of three siblings, and had played his favorite sport, soccer, at New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst. After graduation, he had gone straight to work in hotels, including the Bentley and the Williamsburg Hotel.
Now he is concerned about making ends meet, since he does not have paid time off as he recovers. The bullet fractured his knee. Doctors at NYU Langone Hospital in Sunset Park operated after the attack, but he will likely need another surgery. He is practicing walking with crutches and trying to cope with the pain. His sister created a GoFundMe page to solicit donations while he is undergoing 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 who 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 headed to Manhattan when his subway car began filling with smoke. He didn’t even feel it, he said, when a bullet struck him in his left leg. He was treated and released from a local hospital.
“I was scared,” Mr. Pérez said. “I just wanted to get out of there. It’s all I wanted. Everyone was in a panic.”
Mr. Pérez had to be helped off the train by another passenger. In the hospital, doctors told him he should be able to walk again in about a month. Until then, he’s not sure how he will be able to work.