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An 11-year-old San Francisco boy remains hospitalized today after a frightening incident on a Muni bus Tuesday in which he was stabbed in the abdomen and nearly died, police said.
The boy was riding home alone from baseball practice after school at the time, police spokeswoman Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said.
At about 6 p.m., as the bus neared 19th and Mission streets, a man described as “scruffy-looking” and possibly homeless attacked him at the back of the bus, stabbing him once, according to Tomioka.
She said the boy was sitting with a balloon on his lap at the time.
“It was an unprovoked attack on an innocent child,” she said, adding that there had been no conversation between the boy and the suspect, and no altercation between the suspect and anyone else on the bus, leading up to the attack.
Police have reviewed surveillance video from one camera on the bus, but another camera closer to the back that would have provided a more detailed view of the suspect was not functioning properly at the time.
“It’s unfortunate and unacceptable, and we’re looking at how to improve camera maintenance,” Muni spokesman Judson True said.
The boy’s attacker jumped out of the bus at 19th and Mission streets and ran away, and witnesses rushed to help the boy, Tomioka said.
The boy was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.
“It was a life-threatening injury, but fortunately he’s going to survive,” said Tomioka. “The emergency room doctor told the inspector that if the boy had arrived at the hospital five minutes later, he would have been dead. He would have bled to death.”
“Our thoughts are with him and his family as he recovers,” True said.
It’s believed the suspect used a knife to stab the boy, but a weapon hasn’t been recovered.
Witnesses described the attacker as a black man with dark facial hair, 25 to 35 years old, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall, and about 190 pounds. He was wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans and dark shoes.
“And he also had a strong body odor, consistent with somebody who might be considered homeless or a transient,” said Tomioka.
“We’re hoping, when the little boy is able to, we want to get a composite sketch,” she said.
Other witnesses are asked to call police at (415) 575-4444 or use the department’s new Text-A-Tip service, by text messaging 84741, then typing “SFPD” and the tip.