A 57-year-old Santa Ana man who allegedly brandished a weapon on a bus and threatened passengers was arrested on Oct. 8 following an hours-long standoff with Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies and other law enforcement officers.
The incident began around 4 p.m. when the suspect, identified by authorities as David Lavar Young, got into an argument with a passenger on an Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus in Anaheim, California.
The bus was moving along its route when Young allegedly punched the passenger and pulled out a weapon, threatening both the passenger and the driver.
“At some point, while they were on the bus together, there was some sort of an exchange. Then the suspect punched the victim and then threatened him,” Carrie Braun, the OCSD director of public affairs, told The Epoch Times.
“The victim described [the weapon] as a box cutter.”
The incident may have been sparked when the passenger accidentally stepped on Young's shoe, according to the OCSD, and his attempt to apologize was unsuccessful.
Following the altercation, the suspect exited the first bus and boarded a second one, Braun said.
The first driver contacted the OCTA dispatcher, notifying the dispatcher of Young’s appearance and the incident that ensued. The second bus driver positively identified Young based on the description given by the dispatcher and alerted the police.
“There was a description matching, and then there also may have been a witness who helped with providing the bus number, and then they were able to locate the bus,” Braun said, adding that “it was a multitude of things that came together that allowed them to locate this individual.”
Braun said the Anaheim Police Department was instrumental in assisting with the capture of the suspect.
“The bus was identified by the Anaheim Police Department, who was assisting us because this occurred in the city of Anaheim. So while we handle police services on the actual bus for the Transit Police Services, we did have assistance from the Anaheim Police Department in initially locating the second bus,” she said.
“They were able to identify which bus that was and stop it,”
After police stopped the bus—near the corner of Anaheim Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue at around 5 p.m.—everyone onboard stepped off except the suspect. There were no injuries.
“There was, I believe, the coach operator and then at least one other individual who was on that bus at the time. They exited the bus,” Braun said.
Young remained behind.
“He was alone by himself on the bus,” Braun said. “And then, as deputies and officers attempted to contact the man and requested he step off the bus, he verbally threatened them that he would harm them as they attempted to take him into custody.”
Due to the report that the suspect was armed and that threats were made to the original officers trying to contact him, officers opted not to enter the bus—and the standoff began.
The OCSD crisis negotiation team, which handles “barricaded subjects” and “hostage situations,” was then called to the scene.
“Absolutely, there was a crisis negotiation team out there, prior to the deployment of the SWAT team,” Braun said.
“They had responded prior to the SWAT team, and were attempting to connect with Mr. Young and … ask him very kindly to come off the bus, [saying] that ‘We just want to talk to you, we want to get some information from you, we just need you to come off the bus.’"
Braun said SWAT deputies then attempted several tactics to try to get Young off the bus, including a “very loud siren noise” and multiple detonations of a “flash-bang” device, to no avail.
After these attempts failed to get Young to leave the bus, she said deputies finally deployed CS gas—which is similar to tear gas—to successfully get the suspect to disembark.
“He came off the bus after the gas was deployed,” she said.
But even after leaving the bus, Young still remained uncooperative, according to Braun.
“[He] was standing outside the bus and then was still refusing deputies’ commands to get down on the ground so that they could take him safely into custody,” she said.
The situation then escalated.
“He still did not comply with the deputies' commands to get on the ground and put his arms out. So at that point in time the canine was deployed, and then that did allow them to move in and take him safely into custody,” she said.
Young surrendered after the dog bit him just before 9:30 p.m.—more than four hours after the standoff began.
It is unclear whether the deputies located a weapon.
Young was booked on felony charges including making criminal threats, vandalism, and trespassing on railroad property, according to Braun. He was also charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, and was being held without bail.
Further criminal charges are possible as the investigation continues.