Amtrak Suspect Kicked Off Bus

The man accused of stabbing three people aboard an Amtrak train was removed from an Illinois bus as an unruly passenger the day before the attack, police said Friday.

Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Lincoln Hampton said that Aaron Hall boarded a Greyhound bus in Iowa and was headed to Chicago when he caused a disturbance by saying other passengers wanted to shoot him. Hall reportedly said the same thing during the Amtrak incident.

The bus driver insisted Hall be removed. Arrangements were made for him to catch another bus to Chicago.

When police checked Hall for weapons, they found an eight-inch knife with a two-and-one-half-inch blade, which apparently is the weapon used in the attack on the Amtrak train.

Hall, 41, of Ontario, California, is being held on $1 million bail after being charged with three counts of attempted murder. Police said he stabbed two conductors and a passenger as Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited moved across Ohio early Thursday on its way from Chicago to New York.


AP
Police and firefighters stand next to the Amtrak train where the stabbing took place.

The train's 376 passengers were jolted awake outside Cleveland shortly after 3 a.m. as Hall and the victims ran through the train, leaving a bloody trail in seven cars. Hall was arrested when a passenger identified him while leaving the halted train.

Police have cited no motive for the attack, which witnesses said happened after Hall became unruly in the train's dining car. Amtrak spokesman Ray Lang said the victims were stabbed when they tried to subdue him.

The passenger, John Henry Crotty, was in serious condition early Friday at St. John West Shore Hospital in Westlake, Ohio after surgery for stab wounds to his cheek and jaw, hospital officials said.

Conductor Michael Dwyer, 52, was in guarded and stable condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland with a head wound, a nursing supervisor said. The other conductor, Sean Wilcox, 26, of Merrillville, Indiana, was released after being treated for wounds to his shoulder and chin.

Hall, who police said kicked out a patrol car window, was also injured and hospitalized. He is listed in stable condition. He told reporters he acted in self-defense when a train porter pulled a gun on him. Police said no gun was found.

Amtrak said it would review the stabbing to determine if security is adequate aboard its trains.

"If it is determined that Amtrak needs to modify security procedures, changes will be made,'' the company said in a statement.

While the railway's police epartment patrols major stations, no security officers ride the Lake Shore Limited, Lang said.

Eric Eakin, a spokesman for the United Transportation Union, whose members include conductors, said the workers "have the same concerns as stewardesses or cab drivers. You just never know when these incidents are going to occur,'' he said.

Federal Railroad Administration officials joined several other rail unions in noting the high level of safety aboard Amtrak trains.

"This is the first incident of its kind in five years,'' Pamela Barry, an FRA spokeswoman. "Amtrak does a good job of policing, and we'll let them continue doing that.''

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