Police are searching for a suspect who stabbed a Metro bus driver multiple times Wednesday night in Woodland Hills before fleeing on foot.
Calls about the incident, located at Erwin Street and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, came in at around 5:15 p.m., officials with the Los Angeles Police Department said.
The assault happened after a male suspect boarded the bus and began arguing with the driver. As the altercation escalated, it spilled out of the bus and onto the sidewalk where the MTA operator was stabbed multiple times in the upper torso by the suspect who then fled eastbound on Erwin Street, LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said.
The 61-year-old bus driver was taken to Northridge Hospital in critical condition and remains in the intensive care unit.
“The Department has mustered a number of night watch detectives and uniform personnel to investigate this senseless attack,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said. “Detectives are speaking with witnesses and gathering video evidence. Numerous uniform officers are conducting a grid search of the area.”
The suspect is described as a 21-year-old male, about 6 feet tall, with curly blonde hair and a thin build. He was last seen wearing a black Adidas backpack, a red shirt and black pants.
“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,” Deputy Chief Hamilton said.
Footage from Sky5 showed a large police presence at the scene. Much of the area was cordoned off as detectives investigated the area and gathered information.
Mayor Karen Bass, who has visited the hospital and met with the bus operator’s family, decried the assault in a statement that read in part:
“This heinous act of violence is horrific and the harm done to one of our Metro drivers is tragic. I join the entire City family in praying for him tonight, and my heart goes out to his family.”
The Los Angeles Metro echoed the mayor’s statement, saying:
“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 LAPD to investigate this incident, identify and prosecute the suspect.”
City Councilmember Traci Park, who serves as 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 said in a statement. “My thoughts are with the victim and his family following this terrible act.”
Anyone with information related to this incident is urged to call the LAPD’s 24-hour anonymous tip line at 1-877-527-3247.