Metro bus driver stabbed in the back in Venice, the second attack in a month

A Metro bus makes its way through Encino at night.
A man was arrested on suspicion of stabbing a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver Thursday afternoon in Venice, authorities said. Above, a Metro bus in Encino.
(KTLA-TV Channel 5)

Los Angeles police arrested a 60-year-old man suspected of stabbing a Metro bus driver Thursday afternoon in Venice.

Mark Charbonneaux was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

The stabbing occurred near Main Street and Venice Way around 2:05 p.m., according to police.

The driver had stopped the bus and exited to check on part of the vehicle’s exterior. Authorities say the attacker, without provocation, took a 4-inch folding knife and stabbed the driver in the back, then fled into a nearby business. Before officers arrived, a security guard had used pepper spray on the suspect, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.


A knife was recovered by law enforcement.

The driver was described as stable, authorities said.

“Metro is angered and saddened to hear about this heinous act of violence and is providing support to our employee and his loved ones,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Dave Sotero said in a statement. “We will work closely with the LAPD to investigate this incident and are grateful for their swift action in arresting the suspect.”

The assault was the second stabbing of a bus driver in a month. On May 24, a 61-year-old Metro driver suffered life-threatening injuries after he was stabbed by a 17-year-old boy over an argument about fare evasion.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Traci Park, whose district includes Venice, said Thursday that “violence on public transit is out of control.”

“Today’s stabbing incident involving a Metro bus driver is deeply concerning,” she said in a statement. “We need more police and security officers present to keep our drivers and riders safe. The people who commit these crimes must be held accountable.”

As The Times reported in May on the growing number of assaults against Metro bus drivers, the agency is attempting to curtail such incidents by installing floor-to-ceiling plastic walls that fully encase the driver. The barriers were being tested on about 20 buses.

“We’re [trying] to mitigate the vulnerabilities that exist right now where a patron or someone doing the assault still has access to the operator,” said Robert Gummer, a Metro deputy executive officer.


Anyone with information related to Thursday’s incident is asked to call the LAPD’s anonymous tip line at (877) 527-3247.

Times staff writer Rachel Uranga contributed to this report.