LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Authorities Tuesday said the man wanted for shouting that he had Ebola on a Metro bus could be charged with making a terrorist threat.
KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports the incident, which officials believe was a hoax, happened Monday afternoon in Lincoln Heights and was caught on surveillance video.
The man, who was wearing a surgical mask, and a woman got on the bus around 1:45 p.m. at Hoover Street and Venice Boulevard in Lincoln Heights, Metro said.
The pair remained seated for several minutes before the man took off the mask and shouted, “Don’t mess with me! I have Ebola!”
He then exited the bus with the woman at Venice and Western Avenue.
“They’re going to do their best to identify this person who made this threat of Ebola, and when they do, we’re going to arrest him,” Metro spokesperson Paul Gonzales said.
According to protocol, the bus driver let the passengers exit and then drove the bus to a Metro yard where it will be cleaned and quarantined as a precaution.
The driver was examined and taken to a local hospital at his request. He showed no signs of any illness and was released.
“No bodily fluids were transmitted,” Gonzales said. “No blood. No spit. Nothing like that.”
Other bus commuters shared their thoughts on the matter on Tuesday.
“I think it was just some guy that was trying to scare people, but that doesn’t stop me from riding the Metro,” rider Judith Morgan said.READ MORE: Shooting Outside Pomona High School, 12-Year-Old Boy Transported With Non-Life-Threatening Injuries
Others didn’t pass it off as easily.
“I think people here, they try to make light of the situation, but it shouldn’t be made fun of,” rider Gabriela Zarate said.
The FBI was aiding in the investigation, looking at surveillance footage from the bus in hopes of identifying the suspect.
Meanwhile, the video has yet to be released to the public.
“Right now the detectives at the Sheriff department feel that they want to keep this investigative tool within themselves,” Gonzalez said.
Metro was also faced with the question of why they had let the other passengers who had been on the bus go, rather than having them quarantined.
“We really can’t hold sixty five passengers hostage on a bus until somebody comes out there and tests everybody, and lets them go,” Gonzalez said.
Metro officials plan to meet Wednesday with county health officials, and possibly the CDC, to determine if protocols needs to be updated in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.
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