UPDATE: CARTA employees concerned about safety after liquid atta - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: CARTA employees concerned about safety after liquid attack

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Members of the Amalgamated Transit Unit Local 1212 say they're concerned about the safety of CARTA employees following Tuesday's attack in the parking lot.

"It's very scary you know for someone like that to be on the loose because that was definitely a severe act of violence," said lakecha Strickland, ATU Local 1212 recording secretary. 

The ATU Local 1212 Union is now pushing for tighter security at CARTA headquarters. Members say brighter lights in the parking lot, where the attack happened, is a must. They'd also like to see the addition of a gate or security officer. 

"We've had incidents where the driver was threatened with a gun and the individual raised up the shirt and said I'll see you later and showed a weapon," said Seabron Battle, ATU Local 1212 Financial Secretary.  "We've had drivers attacked with shoes, we've had drivers spit upon and all of those are incidents that have happened on a bus here in Chattanooga." 

On Tuesday, police say a black woman wearing rubber gloves, made a bee-line for a female bus driver, who was walking into work around 7 a.m. 
The suspect then threw an unknown liquid into the driver's face, seriously burning her. She and Four other CARTA employees were hospitalized after being exposed to the liquid. Police said they believe the victim in this case was targeted, but haven't named a motive or any connections. 

"There have been attacks on bus drivers, subway drivers period and it has seemed to have gotten worse," said Kathy Smith, ATU Local 1212. " When it hits home, where you work at, then it really makes you more aware and concerned about security." 

CARTA officials tell Channel 3, they are working with police and reviewing all security policies in place.

"We would like to reassure the general public that there is no threat or imminent danger to them and our services will continue to operate as normal.  " said Lisa Maragnano, CARTA’s Executive Director. " The safety of our employees and the general public is always our number one priority." 

The unknown liquid ,used in the attack, has been sent to a lab for identification. The woman seriously injured is still in the hospital, but she's expected to recover. 

The suspect is described as a black female, light complexion, approximately 5'3-5'5 in height, wearing rubber gloves, hair net or scarf, blue short sleeve t-shirt and khaki pants. 

Members of the Violent Crimes Bureau are actively investigation this incident. If you have any information that can help investigators call Chattanooga Police at 423-698-2525. 


UPDATE:  Chattanooga Police say a woman is in the hospital after she was burned when an unknown liquid was thrown into her face Tuesday morning. Five victims in total were injured and all are CARTA employees. 

READ MORE | What to do if you get a chemical burn

Police described the suspect as a black female with a light complexion. She's 5’3 to 5’5 in height and was wearing rubber gloves, hair net or scarf, a blue short sleeve t-shirt, and khaki pants.

Police say it happened outside of CARTA headquarters on Wilcox Boulevard around 7 a.m., as employees were walking into work. 

More than 15 Chattanooga Fire companies responded to the scene along with Hazmat crews, who shut down neighboring streets. 

Officials say the liquid used in the attack, has not yet been identified. Firefighters on scene only determined it to be a non-life threatening substance. Authorities say the unknown liquid has been sent to the lab for further testing. 

"The 5 victims are employees at CARTA, they were coming into work and the unknown suspect approached the group, where the main victim had the substance thrown on her," said Sgt. Victor Miller, Chattanooga Police Dept. "It appears that the victim was targeted. There is one victim that has serious injuries." 

Police are now looking for the person who threw the liquid. Investigators say area surveillance cameras show that person made a deliberate bee-line toward the woman who was seriously injured.  

The woman suffered serious burns. Police say four other CARTA employees were also injured when the liquid substance splashed or sprayed them too.  All five victims were taken to an area hospital for treatment. 

A spokesperson for CARTA tells Channel 3, no routes were affected as a result of the attack.  Police believe this was an isolated incident and say there's no threat to any passengers. 

"We would like to reassure the general public that there is no threat or imminent danger to them, and our services will continue to operate as normal.  " said Lisa Maragnano, CARTA’s Executive Director. " The safety of our employees and the general public is always our number one priority." 

CARTA officials added they are doing everything they can to support each other at this time. 

"It appears at this time that it would be an aggravated assault," said Sgt. Miller. " As we go through the investigation, we'll determine with the District Attorney's office if any other charges are appropriate." 

Police say the woman targeted, is still in the hospital with serious injuries and investigators are in the process of reviewing security cameras which captured the incident. 

Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call Chattanooga Police. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga Fire Department and Hazmat crews responded Tuesday morning when an unknown liquid thrown into a woman's face.

The woman suffered burns to her face and was transported to a nearby hospital for examination and treatment, according to the Chattanooga Fire Department.

Five victims in total were injured and all are CARTA employees. The employees were walking to work when the suspect threw the substance.

The liquid was tested on the scene and found to be non-life threatening and was sent for further testing.  

Hazmat crews and 15 CFD companies responded to the scene. Nearby streets were closed.

Police say the incident is an aggravated assault. The suspect is still at large.


PREVIOUS STORY: Haz-mat crews are at the CARTA headquarters on Wilcox Blvd. where there's been a chemical spill.

The Chattanooga Fire Department is on hand as well, and nearby streets have been closed.

Details on what has been spilled have not yet been shared.

Channel 3 has a crew on the scene and will update this developing story.

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