By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
An unidentified man was struck and killed Tuesday by a Metro Gold Line train at the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station.
Jose Ubaldo, Metro communications manager for media relations, said that around 11:13 a.m., “The train was coming down into the station, so it was slowing down to make a stop when this incident happened.”
Speaking about two hours after the incident, Ubaldo said, “A body is under the train tracks right now … The sheriff’s homicide (division) are doing the investigation. So the station has been closed, trains are bypassing the station, and we implemented a bus bridge between Union Station, Little Tokyo and Pico Aliso. Then after that, the train resumes their service.
“The only thing we know is it’s a male … We’re waiting for the coroner to come to do the investigation.”
Traffic in the area, already disrupted by construction for Metro’s Regional Connector, was further impeded because Alameda Street between First and Temple streets was closed off for the investigation.
A witness, Teresa Gutierrez, said through an interpreter that she was sitting next to the man at the station when he heard the train coming, stood up, and jumped in front of the train. After the impact, she said, she tried to see if she could help him, but he was beyond help.
Gutierrez described the man as Hispanic-looking, 45 to 50 years of age, and wearing black pants and a white shirt.
She added, “He looked like a normal person. He did not show any sign he was going to do something crazy … He looked like he knew what he was doing.”
(UPDATE: City News Service reported on Wednesday that the man has been identified as a 47-year-old Los Angeles resident and that his death has been listed as an apparent suicide.)
A previous fatality connected with the station was a homicide. In November 2010, Little Tokyo resident Betty Sugiyama, 84, died at a hospital after being pushed from the Metro Gold Line platform by Jakkqueline Pogue, 44. In July 2013, Pogue was convicted of second-degree murder, but jurors also found she was insane at the time and she was sent to a state hospital.
Rafu staff writer Junko Yoshida contributed to this story.