A manhunt is underway for a suspect who stabbed a Los Angeles Metro bus driver after the pair apparently got into a “verbal argument”.
The driver was left with multiple stab wounds after the attack, which took place at around 5.20pm on Wednesday at a bus stop on Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street, according to KTLA.
According to a police statement, the bus driver and the suspect exchanged words when the suspect boarded the bus, after which “the bus driver and the suspect exited the bus and continued the argument, at which time the suspect produced a knife (or sharp object) and stabbed the bus driver multiple times”.
The transport agency said: “Metro is shocked and saddened to hear about this heinous act of violence and is providing support to our employee and his loved ones.
“We will work closely with the LAPD to investigate this incident, identify and prosecute the suspect.”
The driver, who has not been named, was rushed to hospital and into surgery at Northridge Hospital Medical Center following the attack. The extent of his injuries is currently unknown.
Mayor Karen Bass described the attack as a “heinous act of violence”, adding that “the harm done to one of our Metro drivers is tragic”.
After visiting the driver in the hospital, Mayor Bass said: “I join the entire city family in praying for him tonight, and my heart also goes out to his family.
“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.
“They do their job of getting us to where we need to go, and we must in turn do our job of keeping them safe.
“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.”
Police are continuing their investigation and search for the suspect.
According to footage obtained by the authorities in the wake of the attack, the suspect is a white man with blonde curly hair, who was wearing a red t-shirt and black trousers at the time of the attack, and was carrying a black backpack. Police described him as being around 21 years of age and 6ft tall.
The 61-year-old driver was taken to Northridge Hospital in critical condition, where he’s still in the ICU.
“The Department has mustered a number of night watch detectives and uniform personnel to investigate this senseless attack,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore tweeted. “Detectives are speaking with witnesses and gathering video evidence. Numerous uniform officers are conducting a grid search of the area.”
“Right now, our investigation is centering here in the Woodland Hills area, but this suspect may be anywhere in either the San Fernando Valley or nearby areas and that suspect may also still be riding either MTA buses or on public transportation to include rideshares,” LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said.
Traci Park, a City Councilmember and the vice chair of the Transportation Committee, said the “ongoing crime and violence on Metro cannot be tolerated”.
“We must do more to ensure the safety of our transit riders and drivers, who work tirelessly to keep our city moving,” she added. “My thoughts are with the victim and his family following this terrible act.”
Anyone with information on the attack or the suspect is urged to call the LAPD at their anonymous tip line at 1-877-527-3247 which is open 24/7.