A 17-year-old suspect was arrested Thursday for the stabbing of a Metro bus driver in Woodland Hills.
Using community tips and surveillance footage, LAPD identified the male teen and made the arrest at his San Fernando Valley residence.
“The community stepped forward and began working with us, providing tips and leads that we’ve worked through,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a press conference Thursday. “I’m happy to report… that this individual has been identified and our follow up investigation has resulted in his arrest and he is in our custody.”
The incident occurred Wednesday around 5:15 p.m. as the suspect and driver both exited the bus after a dispute. Outside of the bus is where the stabbing occurred with the suspect fleeing the scene.
LAPD publicly released a photo of the suspect Wednesday night, asking for help identifying the suspect and the arrest was made at approximately 2:15 p.m. Thursday.
With the suspect being a minor, LAPD did not release further identifying information, aside from the age.
As of this writing, the bus driver remains in critical condition, receiving care from Dignity Northridge Hospital.
Chief Moore said LAPD used immediate investigative resources to find the suspect, in hopes to prevent copycat incidents with Metro.
“We’re always concerned that when you have an extraordinary event like this, that there may be others that may feel that it’s open season, or that there’s somehow an allowance for this,” Moore said. “I can only assure those that would feel that this is an opportunity for them, that there’s no such opportunity. There is zero tolerance for violence on a bus.”
Mayor Karen Bass, who serves on the Los Angeles Metro Board, said transportation safety is a priority for her.
“For so many Angelenos, our transit operators are a part of their everyday lives – they bring our children to school, they bring us home from work and are part of the very fabric of our city, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” 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.”
L.A. Metro Board Chair Ara Najarian said there is no intention of having armed officers on city transit, adding that there is a tiered system of security that starts with peace officers and ends with “Metro Ambassadors,” a pilot program of on-the-ground employees that launched this March. The ambassadors, while able to readily report incidents, are not employed as security members.
“We can’t put officers on every bus,” Najarian said. “We’re hoping that with all those different services, we can tamp down on the crime— give a presence of Metro— a security presence.”
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