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L.A. Bomb Squad Detains Man Named 'Bang' in Union Station, Detonates His Backpack

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 9:35 AM

click to enlarge The Red Line: of brutal stabbings and suspicious packages.
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department took no chances yesterday afternoon, upon receiving word from passengers exiting a Red Line subway car at Union Station that somebody may have left a "package" behind. (Tattletales.)

"Deputies evacuated people from the east and west entrances of the downtown Los Angeles station while bomb squad investigators examined the backpack," reported the Los Angeles Times.

As they soon discovered, this was no ordinary backpack:

It was emblazoned with the word "Bang." (Apparently as grave an offense as yelling "bomb" in an airport.)

The Red and Purple Lines were immediately thrown into tumultuous delay, and remained clogged through three-plus hours of commuter hell while deputies and canines poked and sniffed at the mysterious cargo, respectively.

But alas, neither could determine its contents. So, as reported by City News Service, a bomb squad did what a bomb squad gotta do:

The sheriff's bomb squad moved the package with a robot and exploded it, so the package's contents have not been determined, [Metro spokeswoman Gayle Anderson] said. After the tracks were de-energized, debris from the package on the tracks was removed. Trains were back to running on schedule by 7:45 p.m., she said.

(In case you've never had the pleasure of witnessing said "robot" in action: Might we point you to the time it detonated an apple-grenade art project in Little Tokyo, or the time it detonated a briefcase in Beverly Hills, with some poor struggling writer's rejected screenplay inside. Both on par with the "Bang" fail, for sure.)

Sadly, but also hilariously, the backpack on the Red Line belonged to a guy nicknamed "Bang Bang," who apparently had just left it on his seat. But again, sheriff's deputies weren't taking any chances:

The owner of the backpack with the word "Bang'' on it was detained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said Capt. Mike Parker, adding that the investigation continued tonight.

The watch commander at Transit Services Bureau tells the Weekly this morning, "I don't believe he's still in custody as we speak," but he isn't certain.

Poor Bang Bang. As one guy on Twitter lamented, this could be a textbook case of #KoreanGuyProblems. Small consolation prize: Bang Bang kinda sorta got his moment of fame on Twitter yesterday, when Union Station started trending amid the ridiculous rush-hour operation to detonate his backpack.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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