Officials defend response in Red Line stabbing
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and transit officials Monday defended their handling of a fatal stabbing on the Red Line subway last week that ended with the killer fleeing down Hollywood Boulevard.
Jesse Garay, 58, of North Hollywood died in the Friday evening attack, the first slaying on the subway since it began operations in 1993. The killer remains at large.
John Roberts, executive officer for MTA transit operations, said the conductor brought the train into the next station and opened the doors after the attack to protect the passengers and to seek medical aid.
"With an armed suspect and innocent passengers on board, opening the doors is the right thing to do," Jordan said. "Our operators are trained not to get between combatants. They handled it correctly."
Deputies arrived four minutes after the train pulled into the station at Hollywood and Vine, Sheriff's Cmdr. Pat Jordan said. The deputies had been on foot patrol at Hollywood and Highland, the next station, he said. Eight deputies and eight security officers patrol 16 Red Line stations.
But the killer was gone when deputies arrived.
Jordan said sheriff's homicide detectives have good surveillance video images of the killer, who is described as an Asian man in his 20s with a pock-marked face who frequents the area. They hope to identify him soon.
The stabbing took place after Garay flailed a chain toward the younger man, who told passengers he acted in self-defense, a witness reported. Two female passengers who did not appear to know the stabber coached him how to escape, the witness said.
-- Gale Holland
Photo: Scene outside subway station after stabbing. KTLA News