LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced on Thursday that a 17-year-old male had been taken into custody in connection with the stabbing of a Metro bus driver in Woodland Hills the day before. The suspect and the driver reportedly got into an argument around 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the investigation.
Both passengers got off the bus at the corner of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street as the fight escalated. After that, the suspect used a knife or other sharp instrument to repeatedly stab the driver. The bus driver, 61 years old, is still in critical condition, according to Moore.
“The nature of the injuries he sustained were definitely beyond life-threatening, and certainly in many other instances he would not have survived the level of this attack,” Moore said Thursday afternoon at a news conference. Police in Los Angeles said the severely hurt man was sent to Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center for treatment. His real name was never revealed.
Due to the suspect’s youth, police are withholding his identity. Moore said the guy was apprehended around 2:45 p.m. in what is believed to be his San Fernando Valley home. However, Moore did say that public tips helped them track down the culprit.
Moore stated that once the suspect escaped, police mounted a massive manhunt throughout the San Fernando Valley all night long. The police also disseminated bus surveillance camera images of the suspect. The suspect was initially characterized as a man standing at least 6 feet tall, aged 21 or so, with curly blonde hair. He was dressed all in black, with a red shirt and a black backpack.
The LAPD said the suspect will be arrested and charged with attempted murder. At the beginning of Thursday’s board meeting, Metro Board of Directors Chairman and Glendale City Council member Ara Najarian announced a $25,000 prize for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.
“Words fail to capture the depth of our sorrow and our concern for our injured employee,” Najarian said. “I know this board stands together, united in our prayers and hopes for the operator’s swift and complete recovery. This heart-wrenching incident reminds us of the risks our front-line employees face each day as they strive to serve our community in the face of such adversity.”
The tweet below verifies the news:
#BREAKING: 17-year-old arrested in connection with stabbing of Metro bus driver in Woodland Hills, LAPD says https://t.co/tgRT20STy5
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) May 25, 2023
Najarian said the bus driver, despite suffering “life-threatening” injuries from the stabbing, returned to the bus after the incident and locked it up to protect the passengers. The motorist is still in serious condition, according to Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins, although his family has reported that he has tried to open his eyes.
Metro board members Karen Bass, Paul Krekorian, and Bob Blumenfield all stopped into the hospital on Wednesday night. “The driver is still not out of the (woods), and we need to keep him in our prayers,” Bass said at the Metro board meeting.
“We know that ridership is down on the trains and the buses and we certainly don’t want public safety to be the reason. But we definitely need to redouble our efforts in that regard.”
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