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Sunday Stabbing on the Blue Line Spotlights Questions of Safety on the Trains

A calm moment at the transfer point between the Blue and Green Lines at the Rosa Parks station in Watts/Willowbrook. Depending on the season and time of day, the Blue Line platform can be bathed in sun and very, very crowded. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
A quiet moment at the transfer point between the Blue and Green Lines at the Rosa Parks station in Watts/Willowbrook. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
The Rosa Parks station in Watts/Willowbrook, looking southward along the Blue Line. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.

Sunday evening, at approximately 7:20 p.m., a 20-something year old man was stabbed by two women -- one in her early 20s and the other in her early 50s -- while traveling southbound on the Metro Blue Line.

Passengers that witnessed the altercation called security and requested a Sheriff meet the train at the Firestone station.

The women were arrested and taken into custody and a knife was recovered on the scene at that time.

As of this morning, there is still no information available regarding what sparked the altercation between the parties. All the Watch Commander could tell me was that the women were not related to the victim.

The victim, whose name is not being released at this time, was taken to St. Francis Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The stabbing is unusual, not least because two women were the perpetrators. Research suggests that when women are the perpetrators of physical violence, it is most often in cases of domestic violence (for which they are three times more likely to be arrested than men -- off topic, true, but interesting nonetheless). Although there was a case in New York where 6 allegedly drunk girls were involved in the stabbing of an older gentleman on the train, public stabbings of strangers by women are infrequent, at best.

The case is also unusual because stabbings on Metro trains are relatively isolated incidents and perpetrators are generally caught, due to the number of witnesses, video surveillance, and the challenge of escaping a train or station once an act has been perpetrated. Of note, the fatal stabbing of 59-year old Jesse Garay on the Red Line last August. He was stabbed by Gene Sim, 33, who claimed he was defending himself when Garay began swinging a chain wildly. The fatal stabbing was the first of its kind since the opening of the Red Line in 1993. The family of Garay filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the MTA, charging that there was not enough security on the train. Meanwhile, it is unclear if Sim was charged in the death.

Other recent incidents were non-fatal. A fist fight between two men on the Gold Line last August resulted in the stabbing of one and the arrest of the other at Memorial Park station. Last November, an altercation between a man and a woman at the Hollywood and Western station led to the stabbing of both the woman and her boyfriend when the boyfriend tried to intervene. Lang David Dunbar, 25, was arrested in that case and charged with attempted murder. Finally, there was a non-fatal stabbing at the Blue Line Platform at the 7th St. Metro Center in February of this year. In that case, the victim was stabbed beneath his armpit while standing on the platform at 2:00 in the afternoon. The unidentified perpetrator fled the scene and, as yet, has not been identified or apprehended.

If you should have any information regarding the recent stabbing incident, please contact Transit Services deputies at 323-563-5000.

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