It was a random attack and the third similar violent attack on the Muni system in as many months. Muni believes the system is still safe but San Francisco police are working on how to most effectively increase their presence on the system since they cannot be on every /*Muni*/ vehicle every hour of every day.
Police say the stabbing happened just after 10:30 Monday morning on a southbound J-Church, somewhere near the intersection of Market and Church. The 24-year-old victim, Rachel "Ty" Brown, was sitting near the rear of the bus when the suspect stabbed her.
Brown wants to speak out and bring attention to this case, but remained in the E.R. Monday night. Her girlfriend 21-year-old Gabby Winder was able to describe what happened.
"This guy just ran up and it felt like [he] punched her in the side and we thought about calling the cops, but we thought 'What are they going to do? He's probably already run off the bus already,'" said Winder.
Neither of them realized at first that Brown had been stabbed.
"We went up one more stop and I was rubbing her side because it was hurting and then I see the blood in my hand," said Winder.
"She was stabbed two times on her left side, in her torso area," police spokesman Lt. Wilfred Williams told ABC7.
The suspect got off right away near Market and Church. Police say witnesses got a good look at him and described him as a 25- to 40-year-old black male, 6 feet tall, with bad body odor, wearing a black sweater, a black jacket, a black knit cap, and a full beard.
They think he got on the train at Van Ness and Market.
"So anybody in the South Van Ness and Market area that remembers the suspect getting on, we would like to talk to them," said Lt. Raj Vaswahi. "Also, anybody in the Church and Market area that might've seen them flee."
The suspect's description is very similar to a suspect described in the September stabbing of an 11-year old boy on a Muni bus, but police say it is too early to link the cases.
Knowing that this man may have attacked before is motivating Brown to get her story out.
"She was really moved by what happened to [the 11-year-old boy] and in fact that his stabbing more serious than hers," said Supervisor Bevan Dufty.
Dufty spent a few hours by Brown's bedside on Monday and even went out to fetch her a hamburger. As chairman of the transportation committee, he is pushing for more police officers on Muni.
"The J is not identified and has no way been a top 5 or a top 10 line, that I think that is where my message to the chief and department is that I think the situation is such we really do need a bit of saturation," said Dufty.
"Muni vehicles are an extension of San Francisco streets. So, the same kinds of things that happen on the streets of San Francisco are going to happen on our vehicles," Muni spokesman Judson True said Monday.
There was a Muni video surveillance camera on the train. The question is, "Was it working?" And, if it was, "Did it capture any useful video?" Muni says it should know the answers by Tuesday morning.
The victim was almost released from the hospital Monday night, but at the last minute the doctor decided to monitor her overnight.