Skateboarder sought in L.A. subway stabbing
Authorities are looking for a skateboarder who fatally stabbed a passenger of the Red Line subway Friday evening.
The suspect was described as Asian in his 20s with an acne-scarred face, wearing a blue T-shirt. He was carrying two skateboards, authorities said.
Sheriff's Lt. John Hocking said it was too early in the investigation to say whether the stabbing was in self-defense, as witnesses say the suspect claimed.
"Investigators want to talk to anybody who witnessed the stabbing or can help with the investigation in any way," Hocking said. Anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.
Los Angeles Times music writer Todd Martens, who was taking the subway home from work, said the young man and Jesse Garay were standing near a door on the crowded, rush-hour train. An argument broke out, he said, and the older man began flailing a chain attached to a jacket or bag.
"He wasn't hitting [the young man], he wasn't punching or fighting, he was waving his arms in a really fast motion," Martens said. "It just wasn't a normal way to fight somebody .... He seemed a little left of center."
The young man took a few steps backward and pulled a knife from inside his jacket, Martens said. Authorities allege that he hit Garay in the head with a skateboard and then stabbed him in the chest. Passengers, including a father and his crying son, rushed to the back of the train as blood began running down the center aisle, Martens said.
"He said, 'I can't believe he made me do that,' " Martens said. " 'Everybody saw it, it was self-defense right?' "
When none of the passengers answered, the young man began lamenting that there was no way to elude capture because police would be waiting when the train pulled in to the station. Two young women said otherwise, Martens recalled.
" 'You don't know that,' " Martens quoted the women as saying. " 'Keep it together, you have to be ready.' ... They were giving him a pep talk."
At the women's suggestion, the assailant pulled a bright blue T-shirt out of his canvas bag and exchanged it for his bloodied gray one, Martens said. There were no officers waiting when the train stopped, he said. The young man ran west on Hollywood Boulevard, authorities said.
-- Gale Holland
Photo: Scene outside subway station Friday. Credit: KTLA News