Sheriff's deputies arrest suspect in Metro Red Line stabbing

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a suspect in the stabbing death of a passenger during a fight on a Metro Red Line train in Hollywood on Friday, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department reported today.

The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Gene Sim, described as a transient, who was found in Buena Park and arrested without incident, the department reported.

Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement in response to the arrest.

I congratulate Los Angeles County Sheriff Baca and his team on making an arrest in this case. I am confident they will conduct the case in a swift and responsible manner.

I want subway riders to know they are safe. Our transit system as well as our streets and neighborhoods are the safest they’ve been in a generation. Crime in Los Angeles is down to levels we have not seen since the Eisenhower Administration. Immediately following the incident Friday night, the Sheriff’s Department increased the number of deputies on the Red Line and additional deputies will be on patrol during the evening hours.

Though we cannot prevent every random act of violence, I will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Sheriff’s department and the MTA to keep public transit safe in Los Angeles. I have asked the MTA and the Sheriff’s Department to review security on the rail and bus system to ensure we maintain appropriate levels of security as we build the 21st Century transit network Angelenos deserve.

The Metro Rail system remains safe, said Metro Transit Security Commander Pat Jordan of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. In the wake of the homicide, Sheriff’s deputies have increased patrols in the subway system.

Described as an isolated and rare occurrence, the homicide is the first to occur on a subway train. The Metro Red Line opened in 1993. More than one billion passengers have traveled the Metro Rail system since the Blue Line opened in 1990.

Update regarding coverage of the incident on The Source: The incident was widely reported in the media. LASD homicide detectives were on scene to give reporters updates on the incident and investigation underway. Metro is not the investigating authority and does not compromise an ongoing investigation with independent reporting.

7 replies

  1. I too consider this isolated and rare, and will continue to ride the subway with total confidence. There is little to nothing that Metro or the Sheriff’s Department could have done to prevent this tragedy.

    However, I am concerned about the way this situation was handled after the stabbing. Why weren’t the remaining passengers evacuated immediately from the car containing the murderer? Why was the murderer allowed to escape? I don’t blame the individual driver; I too would have been at a complete loss. But I hope that Metro and the Sheriff’s Department will take this time to work together to establish protocol to better address such incidences in the future, e.g., perhaps a deputy should ride with each driver.

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    • Lauren: Thank you for your comments. Yes, the incident has not disrupted the safey of riding the subway. In response to your concern about how the situation was handled, it would help to know that Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene within three minutes of being alerted by Rail Operations. But why did the train operator open the doors at the Hollywood/Vine station and let the suspect flee? Metro Transit Security Commander Pat Jordan of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. said that the train operator took the appropriate action because trapping a man with a knife who had just stabbed someone in a train car with frightened passengers could have put the other riders and the operator at risk. Commander Jordan also noted in the wake of the homicide, the first in a subway train, patrols have been increased. Also, LASD supplements local law enforcement so that Metro has access to other resources in an emergency.

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  2. Why did it take Metro so long to address this incident? Were you waiting for the assailant to be caught to announce the “good” news? What if he wasn’t caught?

    Metro should have been all over this story on Friday night.

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    • Dude: The incident was widely reported in the media. LASD homicide detectives were on scene to give reporters updates on the incident as well as the investigation underway. Metro is not the investigating authority and does not compromise an ongoing investigation with independent reporting.

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  3. While I certainly agree that Metro shouldn’t have reported anything that may have compromised the investigation it is disconcerting that Metro made absolutely no mention of this incident on its website or its multiple social media outlets. I guess the story was not newsworthy enough for The Source to cover on Friday (or Saturday or Sunday or Monday or Tuesday) yet the story suddenly became newsworthy once a suspect was caught.

    At the very least, Metro should have used this unfortunate incident as an opportunity to use its many social media outlets – including The Source – to remind its customers how to stay safe on Metro, remind them what to do in case of an emergency, and tell them about the many things Metro is doing to ensure their safety.

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