A teenager has been arrested for the near-fatal stabbing of a Los Angeles Metro bus driver after the pair got into a “verbal argument.”
Officials say that a 17-year-old male, who has not been publicly identified, was taken into custody on Thursday in connection with the brutal attack in the city.
The driver was stabbed multiple times at a bus stop on Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street in the suburb of Woodland Hills on Wednesday after the pair got embroiled in an altercation outside the bus.
Authorities say that the verbal argument between the 61-year-old driver and the teenager began about “fare evasion” before escalating.
Police say that they both got off the bus which is when the suspect allegedly stabbed the driver in the chest, neck, and back, and then ran away.
The bus driver, who has not been named, was rushed to Northridge Hospital in critical condition and remains in the intensive care unit.
“The nature of the injuries that he sustained were definitely beyond life-threatening and certainly in many other instances he would not have survived,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore after the attack.
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.”
According to footage obtained by the authorities in the wake of the attack, the suspect was described as 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.