The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating after a University of Southern California graduate student was viciously attacked at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Surveillance video from the metro train station showed a suspect attacking Anna S. from behind and hitting her over the head while she was waiting for her train to arrive around 5 p.m. The impact of the punch knocked her out and she didn’t know what happened to her.
“Something struck me in the head,” Anna said. “I blacked out. I wasn’t sure what happened, if it happened just to me or to everybody around me. I was confused.”
Several witnesses shared what happened and she reported the attack to an Amtrak police officer who was able to retrieve the surveillance and confirm that she was hit over the head.
Anna, who lives an hour and a half away in Orange County and commutes to school using public transit, says she is unsure about whether she should continue using public transportation due to safety concerns.
“I was given a false sense of security that since there’s so many security people walking, nothing will happen to me,” she said. “I was not reckless. I was not on the phone. I was aware of my surroundings but I was not looking behind my back. I was not expecting someone will run toward me and hit me.”
“It really scares me to know that my wife will be commuting there and we will look for other options because public transportation may not be an option,” said her husband, Dima S.
A 2022 survey of more than 12,000 Metro passengers showed a drop in female ridership citing safety as the top concern, followed by cleanliness and homelessness.
Many riders say there is a lack of consistency when it comes to security officers.
“I know that they have a few security guards here and there but I feel like there’s a large amount of people coming in and out of the area and it’s not covered enough,” said Justin James, who rides the metro.
“I don’t really see security on the train,” said Emily Ollie, another Metro rider. “Something will happen and we’ll be thinking that maybe security personnel will come up but nobody comes up.”
Metro says it is working with law enforcement to address safety concerns and has been able to reduce overall crime by 54% since April.
Anna says she’s sharing her story in the hopes of improving safety conditions for other passengers. Although security and other riders were there, no one intervened during the attack.
“I was disappointed that nobody took action, especially the people who were with me on the shuttle bus from USC and they saw what happened,” she said. “They chose not to be involved. Nobody followed up, nobody was chasing this person that hit me.”
L.A. Metro released a statement on the incident, saying in part:
“It is distressing that an act of violence occurred in Union Station. Preliminary reports indicate that this was an isolated incident where a passenger walking in the tunnel (passageway) in Union Station was assaulted by a passerby.
Our sympathies go out to the victim during this time, and we are working closely with the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate this incident thoroughly.”
Anyone with information related to this case can call L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.