PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A rider was beaten unconscious in a random, unprovoked attack at one of SEPTA’s busiest stations in the middle of morning rush hour. In a story seen first and exclusively on CBS 3, a suspect is now under arrest and being held in $1 million bail, for a vicious random attack on a Septa rider who was buying a ticket inside Suburban Station at 6 a.m.
SEPTA police say the alleged attacker, 38-year-old Jeremy Wilson, was arrested by officers minutes after he ambushed a 58-year-old Northeast Philadelphia man as he was buying a ticket, beating the victim repeatedly on the head with a plumbing wrench.
Court records reveal the suspect had been arrested for theft, terroristic threats and other charges nine days ago, but despite an arrest record in Philadelphia and in other states, was out on the street.
“This person may very well have some mental health issues,” Septa Police Chief Tom Nestel told CBS 3’s Walt Hunter. “And there’s no way of telling when you look at a person whether they’re struggling with a mental health problem that’s going to turn into a violent act.”
The random attack is the second in the past 9 days on a Septa rider at a station.
On January 17th, a 27-year-old woman was thrown onto the tracks in a random assault at the 40th St. El Station.
Both that suspect and Wilson, police say, are believed to have serious mental health issues.
While SEPTA riders were shocked to hear about the attack in the middle of one of SEPTA’s busiest terminals, most say they feel safe and there’s only so much that can be done about random attacks.
“An additional officer, an additional 10 officers, probably wouldn’t have stopped this,” Chief Nestel concluded. “There were greater demons going on in this person’s head that the police.”
The victim in the attack, who suffered serious head injuries, is now in stable condition.