One witness told police cable car operator Larry Gee cried, "Why, why, why?" as his assailant stabbed him repeatedly. On Monday, word of the brutal attack spread among Gee's fellow cable car conductors.
"We encounter some people that are not the best members of our society," cable car operator Juan Vigil told ABC7.
Gee was attacked Sunday afternoon as he sat in his empty cable car which was stopped at Mason near Jackson Street. The car had been taken out of service while crews repaired a cable. A witness led police to an apartment, just blocks away, where police found a trail of blood.
Officers arrested the suspect's family members and charged them with assault and interfering with police. Also inside the apartment was the suspect, 32-year-old George Luong.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wanted tourists to know that this was an isolated incident.
"This was not on the cable car during the turnaround at Powell Street or with a hundred people on the cable car," he said Monday.
Visitors that spoke with ABC7 said they still believe cable cars, and San Francisco in general, are safe.
"We're going to try to go to a cable car station and get on one," said Canadian tourist Domenic Cimino.
"We've been here for the last four days and yeah, I think that in comparison to Mexico, a lot of places are much safer," said Mexican tourist Gerardo Carrilo.
Gee's colleagues say he has been with Muni for over a decade and that cable cars are his life. In fact, Gee even turned down a promotion so he could continue in his job. "Actually, he was promoted to inspector and he didn't want to do the inspector job because he just wanted to work with people," operator Ken Foster said.
Gee is being treated at San Francisco General Hospital. His condition has been upgraded from "life-threatening" to "fair."