On Wednesday March 4th, Anthony Craig Chambers was sentenced to 25 years to Life for the murder of 51 year old Alan Thomas , a UTU Member and LACMTA employee, while in the performance of his duties on May 20, 2012. On that morning, Chambers allowed two other buses to pass the stop he was waiting at on Santa Monica Blvd. before entering Thomas' bus as he left a layover on Line 105. Shortly after entering the bus, Chambers pulled a shotgun from a case and shot Thomas. Chambers exited the bus from a rear window, where he waited for sheriffs deputies and was arrested without a struggle. Original news reports from that day can be viewed below.
Chambers was found guilty of the crime last March but an insanity plea from Chambers lawyers lead to a nearly year long sentencing phase. In a show of solidarity, a number of SMART Transportation members were on hand to witness the sentencing.
“We are gratified that justice has finally been served, but more need to be done to provide safety and security for our operators.” said SMART Transportation General Chairman James Williams.
Later today, the LACMTA will be presenting a bus for inspection at the SMART Transportation union offices in Irwindale, CA, that has been equipped with a new protective barrier system. This will be a pilot program set be tested on a number of buses in preparation for a wider release or modification to the barrier system. Also on the agenda at the MTA Board are new policing procedures and policies designed to make the riding and operating on the system safer.