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Home / News / Crime / Metro bus driver hospitalized after stabbing; is transit system safe?

Metro bus driver hospitalized after stabbing; is transit system safe?

by City News Service
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A Metro bus driver who was stabbed multiple times during an argument with a passenger in Woodland Hills was hospitalized in critical condition Thursday, while a search continued for the assailant in the attack that has again raised questions about safety on the transit system.

The driver and suspect got into an argument for unknown reasons and exited the bus around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday near Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street, police said. As they continued the argument, the suspect stabbed the driver multiple times with a knife or a sharp object.

The driver was taken to Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where he underwent surgery, police said.

The suspect was described as a 6-foot-tall man, approximately 21 years old, with blonde curly hair. He was wearing a red shirt, black pants and carrying a black backpack.

A video camera on the bus captured images of the suspect, and police circulated the photos in hopes of locating the man, who was last seen eastbound on Owensmouth Avenue.

Anyone with information was asked to call 877-LAPD-24-7.

“This heinous act of violence is horrific and the harm done to one of our Metro drivers is tragic,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. “Safety on Metro is a top priority, and I will redouble my efforts as mayor and as a Metro board member to keep transit riders and workers safe.”

The attack was the latest violent encounter involving the Metro transit system, which has come under fire from some critics and elected officials over safety issues.

Earlier this week, county Supervisor and Metro board member Janice Hahn called for “a full accounting” of security protocols on the system following a recent attack on a woman on a Metro A (Blue) Line train in Long Beach by two suspects.

“We have multi-million-dollar law enforcement contracts, Metro security, and 300 Metro Ambassadors who have been hired to ride our buses and trains,” Hahn said in a statement Monday. “But where were they when this woman was beaten up on the Blue Line last week? With this many layers of security, why didn’t anyone come to this woman’s aid? This is far from the first time there has been an attack on our trains in recent months. I will be asking for a full accounting of where our transit ambassadors, Metro security, and Long Beach Police officers assigned to Metro were at the time of this attack.

“Enough is enough,” Hahn said. “Our trains need to be safe for our residents.”

The Metro Board of Directors was scheduled to meet Thursday morning.

Long Beach police said the attack on the A Line train occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. May 17. Although the victim told ABC7 one of her attackers used racial slurs, police said they had “no information to indicate this is a hate or bias motivated incident.”

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