California transit worker struck by arrow, may be hate crime, authorities say

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A 36-year-old transit worker taking his break in Northern California this week was struck in the back by an arrow, according to authorities.

Because the wounded bus driver and a co-worker walking with him were members of the Sikh community, authorities are investigating whether the incident should be considered a hate crime, FOX 2 of the Bay Area reported.

The employee of the Valley Transportation Authority was taken to a hospital for medical treatment shortly after the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in San Jose, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said.

The employee was walking in a residential neighborhood on his work break when he was struck in the back with an arrow by an unknown assailant, authorities said.

The employee’s identity and medical condition were not disclosed, but sheriff’s office spokesman Russell Davis told FOX 2 things “could have been a lot worse.”

“It did penetrate through his skin,” Davis said of the arrow. “I would say fortunately this situation could have been a lot worse. … It was pretty close to hitting some vital organs, from what I understand.”

John Courtney, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 25, which represents about 1,500 VTA employees, told FOX 2 the bus driver was “doing a little better by the day” since the attack occurred.

No suspect has been apprehended in connection with the incident. Authorities ask that anyone with information contact the sheriff’s office at 408-808-4500 or its anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.

In 2019, a female transit employee was shot in the head with a pellet gun near the same location, the Alum Rock Transit Center, FOX 2 reported. The woman has since returned to work.

The transit agency’s employees are the frequent targets of verbal abuse and assaults, so a hate crime isa possibility in this week’s case, Courtney told FOX 2.

The union and the sheriff’s office’s advisory board are each offering $1,000 rewards for information in the case, the station reported.

Fox News’ Wendy Layne contributed to this story.

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