The mentally unstable “A-Train Ripper’’ suspect had a social worker assigned to help him last spring — but the pair could only talk by phone because of COVID-19, leaving him flailing, his brother told The Post on Monday.
“I spoke to his social worker,’’ said suspect Rigoberto Lopez’s sibling, Oscar. “She said that the only help he was going to get was by phone.
“I said, ‘This is not going to help,’ ’’ Oscar recalled. “ ‘[Rigoberto’s] got big issues. He’s frustrated.’ ”
At the time, Rigoberto — who has previously been hospitalized at least twice for mental-health issues, according to cops — had been living at home since being sprung from jail by his family for allegedly assaulting a cop a few months earlier.
But he was unbearable to live with — threatening kin with violence, Oscar said — and left the home by May or June.
Rigoberto, 21, first moved into a shelter in The Bronx, then lived on the streets of Washington Heights in Manhattan for a while, said Oscar, noting that the family lived in both boroughs over the years.
As the weather got colder, Rigoberto moved into a shelter in Brooklyn — which is where he was living when he allegedly launched his bloody weekend spree, killing a homeless man and woman in separate knife attacks on the A train and wounding two other men on the subway line.
Isaac McGwinn, a spokesman for the Big Apple’s Department of Homeless Services, declined comment to The Post on Monday when asked what if any treatment Lopez may have been receiving from the city, citing privacy issues.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks