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An elderly nurse who was critically injured after being attacked at a Los Angeles transit bus stop has died of her injuries at a hospital where she worked for 38 years, her employer announced Sunday.
Sandra Shells, 70, was attacked by a homeless man around 5:15 a.m. m. Thursday near Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, about a half-mile from Union Station, as she waited to catch a bus to her Los Angeles County-USC job. Medical Center, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Tragically, she succumbed to her injuries at the same medical center on Sunday.
Kerry Bell Arrested
Later that day, police arrested Kerry Bell, a 48-year-old homeless man who was found sleeping not far from the bus station.
Bell allegedly hit Shells in the head, prompting the nurse to hit her head on the ground, likely hitting her on the concrete. As a result of her fall, Shell suffered a fractured skull.
Bell was arrested without incident on suspicion of assault, but his charge will be upgraded to suspicion of murder, according to police.
No motive for the unprovoked attack has been revealed. Bell is being held on $2 million bond, according to jail records.
Bell has one prior arrest in Los Angeles, but multiple prior arrests in several other states, according to the LAPD.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore shared on Twitter that Shells’ death was “a senseless and tragic murder directly related to the failure of this nation’s mental health resources.” We can and must do better. This victim lived her life for others. We are falling short.
“We are deeply saddened by this news,” Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center officials said in a statement. ‘Sandra Shells will always be remembered for her compassionate care and unparalleled dedication to her patients and her community throughout her 38-year career at LAC + USC.’
‘Sandra worked tirelessly and selflessly to keep her patients safe and healthy and she will always be remembered as a kind, compassionate and generous nurse with a helpful and caring nature that was a favorite of hers amongst colleagues and patients.
“There will never be enough words to express our gratitude for her tremendous work and dedication,” the statement added.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has called for a full investigation into the attack, arguing that essential workers already working in difficult conditions during the pandemic deserve a “safer and more stable environment.”
“Learning from this attack is both shocking and heartbreaking,” Barger said in a statement. “I ask for a full investigation into what caused the attack and any information that can be used to prevent this from happening again.
“It is unacceptable that Metro bus passengers are susceptible to this type of violence. Our essential workers, like this county nurse, often take public transportation at unconventional hours and can become easy prey for violent actors,” said Barger. Los Angeles, like many cities across the country, has seen an alarming rise in violent crime in the past two years.
Homicides in the City of Angeles are up 52 percent last year from 2019, and shooting incidents are up 59 percent, according to LAPD data.
The city has also suffered a shocking wave of home burglaries and organized attacks on retailers.
Sandra Shells Quick and Facts
- Sandra Shells, 70, who was badly injured after being struck in the head by a homeless man near Union Station in Los Angeles three days ago, has died
- LAPD arrested Kerry Bell, a 48-year-old homeless man who was found sleeping not far away from the bus station, in connection to the attack
- No motive for the unprovoked attack has been revealed. Bell is being held on $2million bail
- A full investigation of the attack has been open, the LAPD said on Sunday