ATLANTA — MARTA police today arrested a 42-year-old man, charging him with assaulting a four people, including a “high-ranking military official” on a train at the Airport Station and an elderly woman, officials said.
“At 11:17 a.m., a U.S. Army major boarded a southbound train at the MARTA Lakewood-Fort McPherson Station to pick up his family from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. While sitting on the train, an African American male dressed in a white robe and head dress, began staring at the major, pacing back and forth. He then headed towards the major yelling, screaming and swinging punches at him,” said MARTA Police Chief Gene Wilson.
“An elderly lady, who did not give her age, tried to intervene by hitting the attacker with her purse, but the suspect retaliated by knocking her unconscious. As the train pulled into MARTA’s Airport Station, the suspect ran off the train and entered the northbound train across the platform, where he got into another altercation with another passenger. The MARTA rail operator and the passenger subdued the suspect until police arrived.”
Saffo Davis of Atlanta was charged with four counts of battery and four counts of obstruction for attacking the major, the elderly lady, the third victim and a police officer. He is being detained at Clayton County Jail.
It took 15 MARTA police officers to transport Davis. And according to a preliminary background check, Davis has numerous convictions on his police record, MARTA said.
“The suspect made no reference to the major’s race or military background prior to the attack,” Wilson said. “As far as we can tell, this is just one individual acting on his own. We do not believe this incident is tied to G8 protests or anything of that nature.”
The major was treated by Grady Hospital’s auxiliary clinic located inside the airport. The elderly lady was treated on the scene by the paramedics and released to her husband.
Prior to this incident, MARTA beefed up its police presence on the south line. Last week, MARTA redeployed 20 of its bus and special operations response teams to cover the G-8 Summit in Savannah. “As soon as they return, our officers will redeployed throughout the system,” said Wilson.
MARTA rail service was not interrupted during the incident.