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'Help me, help me': Metro bus driver stabbed, reviving fears about safety

Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LAPD Deputy Chief Donald Graham, who oversees the Transit Services Bureau, said Osborn fails to understand the intricacies of local policing agencies, including which cases are prosecuted and on what charges. He said he expects his team to present a case to prosecutors every time there is an arrest.

He points out that as of Sunday, Part 1 crimes — including homicides, violent assaults and robberies — on buses, trains and stations are down 41% so far this year in areas patrolled by LAPD compared with the same period in the previous year.

He said the agency is increasingly working with other law enforcement agencies, Metro security and ambassadors to identify suspects. Weapons- and narcotics-related arrests have surged, and since Jan. 1 in the transit system, the LAPD has arrested 904 people for trespassing — often for not carrying a TAP card needed to board trains or buses.

Capt. Shawn R. Kehoe of the Sheriff's Transit Services Bureau, said the Sheriff's Department solved and filed with the district attorney's office 15 of the 54 bus driver assaults reported in its jurisdiction last year.

"Our current clearance rate is 27%," he said. "We take every crime seriously. Our Transit Services Bureau detectives are assigned solely to investigate public transit crimes and investigate each crime to the fullest extent possible using all available resources."

Metro's executive board has been grappling with issues of policing on thousands of Metro buses, trains and stations for years. Whereas social justice activists are calling for the board to decrease the number of armed officers, employees are worried about safety. The cost of contracting with law enforcement has been ballooning, and Metro has been weighing whether to create its own police force.


Osborn, who backs the idea of a Metro-run police agency, acknowledges that prosecutions might have done little to deter the latest attack. But she said there's a general malaise when it comes to policing transit.

Since last year, Metro has increased the number of security officers to patrol the buses on lines where there has been an assault. Law enforcement agencies also have dedicated units assigned to patrol buses.

The driver stabbed Saturday night has been with the agency since 2022.

Deputies who reviewed video from the bus identified Darnell M. Bray as a possible supsect. The 30-year-old was released from prison last year after serving 16 years for carjacking, robbery and kidnapping and had been in violation of his parole.


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