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Authorities beef up patrols on Metro rail system after attacks

September 6, 2011 | 10:01 am

Metro beefs up security after attacks

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has increased the number of deputies patrolling Metro Rail in response to recent stabbings and the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11.

On Aug. 26, Gold Line passengers saw a man pull a knife and stab another passenger as a northbound train came into the Memorial Park station. A week earlier, a man was fatally stabbed on a Red Line train near Hollywood.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which provides security on the Metro Rail system, told the Pasadena Sun that such attacks are unusual.

The Gold Line stabbing "was the most serious incident that I can recall on the Pasadena section, and I’ve worked here for eight years," Sheriff's Cmdr. Patrick Jordan said. "Stabbings on the entire rail system are incredibly rare, and in the Pasadena section it’s even rarer."

Even so, Jordan said authorities planned to beef up patrols. He declined to release the number of additional deputies, citing security reasons.

“We are going into the anniversary of Sept. 11, and I don’t want to talk about the number of deputies,” he said.

With the help of Gold Line passengers, law enforcement officers arrested Jose Paul Vasquez Flores, 36, of Los Angeles in the Aug. 26 stabbing. He was charged with attempted murder. In a court appearance Thursday he pleaded not guilty.

Jordan said the Gold Line, which runs through Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles and South Pasadena, has the lowest number of crimes in the Metro Rail system. From January to July of this year, 32 crimes were reported on the Gold Line. Four were assaults, one was a robbery, and the rest were property crimes.

The crimes reported most often, Jordan said, are robberies of cell phones and jewelry.


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-- Ana Facio-Krajcer, Times Community News 

Photo: Riders get on and off a northbound Gold Line train at the Pasadena Memorial Park Station. Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News