According to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 11pm on March 13, officers responded to a TriMet bus near NE 27th Avenue and NE Saratoga Street.
The bus driver, Emily Paul, reported that Anna Karen Perez-Velador, 28, pulled out a knife and stabbed her in the leg after Paul asked Perez-Velador and Cody Christopher Richardson, 26, to exit the bus because it had reached the end of the route.
The TriMet driver said the two suspects were the only people on board.
According to court documents, Paul told investigators she suspected Perez-Velador and Richardson were intoxicated and that the pair eventually stood up and walked toward the front of the bus where the driver was sitting and that’s when Perez-Velador accused her of sleeping with Richardson.
Paul told investigators at the hospital that Perez-Velador began hitting the plastic partition surrounding the driver’s seat with what looked like a pocket knife. According to the Oregonian, TriMet began installing the plastic barriers on buses to protect TriMet drivers from assaults in 2019.
Perez-Velador exited the bus but then returned and started stabbing at the partition again until, suddenly, the driver said she felt a sharp pain in her leg.
According to court documents, despite the injury, Paul was able to escape through the driver's side window while Perez-Velador allegedly blocked the bus door while armed with the knife. After staggering a block away, Paul saw her leg was bleeding and that she was in “extreme pain.”
Responding officers discovered Paul at the scene and she was able to provide them with a description of Perez-Velador and Richardson.
Police located the suspects nearby, arrested them and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Court record show that Perez-Velador was booked on charges of assault, menacing, unlawful use of a weapon, coercion, and criminal mischief while Richardson was booked on interfering with public transportation, as well as outstanding arrest warrants from 2020 for charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The bus driver was released from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center after being treated for the leg injury.
TriMet told local media in a statement, “Our hearts are with our operator as they recover from this frightening ordeal. Managers are connecting the operator with support service for their mental and emotional wellbeing. We remind the public that assaulting a bus operator is a felony. TriMet will continue working with Transit Police and the district attorney’s office to hold the assailant accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Additional charges against the pair may be added after the investigation.
In 2022, Portland eclipsed 2021’s record of 92 homicides, which shattered the city’s previous record of 70 homicides in 1987. Homicides and 911 response times have been on the rise since the city defunded its police department in 2020.
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