"People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will,” the train engineer told investigators.
Rabat – A train engineer in Los Angeles, California intentionally derailed a locomotive near a US Navy hospital ship on April 1, saying he was suspicious about its presence amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The speeding train crashed through a series of concrete barriers and chain-link fences, coming to a halt 230 meters from the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship.
In an interview with FBI agents, Edward Moreno, 44, stated that “he did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’” according to US News & World Report.
USNS Mercy is docked at the Port of Los Angeles to assist regional medical centers during the growing health crisis by treating non-COVID-19 patients.
A criminal complaint from the US Department of Justice said Moreno thought the USNS Mercy was suspicious and did not believe “the ship is what they say it’s for,” suspecting it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover.
“You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to,” Moreno told investigators. “People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”
The train engineer, an employee of Pacific Harbor Line Inc., told police he acted alone and did not pre-plan the attempted attack, but affirmed that the derailing was intentional.
A California Highway Patrol officer witnessed the crash and arrested Moreno as he attempted to flee the scene.
The officer reported seeing “the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence,” according to an affidavit released by US News & World Report.
Prosecutors charged Moreno with one count of train wrecking. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Port of Los Angeles Police are leading the investigation.