Statement by TriMet Bus Operator Leonard James

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Operator Leonard James is still in the hospital recovering from a stab wound that occurred Tuesday night when a man assaulted him and three riders on a Line 33 bus. The suspect, 19-year-old Austin Vanhagen, is facing multiple charges including Assault 1 in this attack. Vanhagen is being held at the Clackamas County Jail.

Operator James released this statement today:

“I have felt such tremendous support from the OHSU staff, from my TriMet family, from riders and the whole community. The outpouring of support deeply touches my heart and is helping me heal. I definitely feel the love.

My deepest regards and thanks go to Richard, Jeremy and Andrew who were on my bus that night and who were also injured. During the attack, we had each others’ backs and that speaks to the courage and character of these men. I was able to visit with Richard today since he’s also here at OHSU, and personally thank him for stepping up to help stop the attack. I am also pleased that two other riders on the bus, John and Stacy were not harmed.

I’m on the road to recovery, but it may be a long road. I appreciate the interest the media has in my recovery, but I ask the media to respect my privacy as I recover.

Thanks again to those on the bus that night, and for all of the community well wishes. Bless you all.”