A 35-year-old Seattle man was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail, accused of punching and stabbing a Metro bus driver on Sunday night. The 54-year-old driver, a Metro employee since 2008, remained in serious condition in intensive care Monday.
A King County District Court judge found probable cause Monday to hold a 35-year-old Seattle man on investigation of first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing a King County Metro bus driver on Sunday night in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood.
The 54-year-old driver was repeatedly punched, stabbed four times in the abdomen and bitten on the face, according to the probable-cause statement outlining the Seattle police investigation.
He remains in serious condition in the intensive-care unit at Harborview Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.
The suspect, who waived his first court appearance, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
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Charges are expected Wednesday, Donohoe said. In addition to first-degree assault, the suspect is being held on investigation of attempted second-degree assault and felony harassment.
The Seattle Times is not naming the suspect because he has not yet been criminally charged.
According to the probable-cause statement:
Around 10:15 p.m. Sunday, a man was waiting for a bus at a bus stop on South Henderson Street, just north of Rainier Avenue South, when he asked the suspect, who was getting too close to him, to keep his distance. The suspect “became confrontational, produced a knife and began swinging it” at the other man.
The man told him to drop the knife and fight him unarmed.
At that moment, the driver of the Route 7 bus walked out of a Metro, employee-only restroom and asked the two men what was going on. The other man explained and when the driver made some comment about the incident, the armed man “suddenly punched” the driver in the face, stunning him.
After several more punches, the driver fell to the ground and the suspect stabbed him approximately four times in the abdomen; as the driver tried to grab the knife and defend himself, the suspect bit him on the face, the statement says.
As the driver was attacked, the other man who had been waiting for the bus tried to get the assailant to stop, then called 911. As officers arrived, a passer-by chased the knife-wielding man east on South Henderson Street, then returned to give a statement to police, it says.
Officers stopped the suspect about six blocks south, based on descriptions provided by the two witnesses, who identified the suspect a short time later.
The suspect had “multiple scratches to his neck, blood on his lips, blood on his clothing and shoes, blood on his hands, as well as fresh abrasions to several of his knuckles and fingers,” the statement says.
According to court records, the suspect has a lengthy history of felony drug convictions dating back to 1999.
Kenny McCormick, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, said the injured Metro bus driver was attacked from behind. The driver has been employed by Metro since 2008, he said.
“This is a very nice individual. This is just wrong. People trying to go to work, earn a living, just getting attacked,” said McCormick, who said he spoke with the injured driver and a safety officer about the assault.
He said he advocates putting shields to the right side of a bus driver, to reduce the chance of attacks while focused on the road. He pointed out that if transit operators wore body cameras, the cameras would record what happens when a driver is not on a coach.