A 21-year-old Boston man wanted for spitting in the face of an MBTA bus driver last month was nabbed today while walking in Jamaica Plain, Transit Police said.
Rafael Guzman was collared on Boylston and Washington streets, just a few blocks from his last known address, by Boston cops who were on their way to court and recognized him from a Transit Police arrest warrant, said T Police Deputy Chief Lewis Best.
Guzman faces charges of assault and battery and assault with a dangerous weapon and will be arraigned tomorrow, police said. Guzman’s alleged accomplice, Maurice Jones, 18, of Roxbury, was arrested three days after the April 18 assault on the bus driver.
According to police, the 8:45 p.m. attack stemmed from a dispute that arose when the two men, who dropped a quarter in the fare box after boarding a Route 28 bus at Ruggles Station, refused to pay their fare despite demands from the 51-year-old driver to either pay up or get off the bus.
Guzman, police said, was captured by a bus surveillance camera spitting on the driver, spraying the man’s eyes, mouth, forehead and the bus window. Police said Jones motioned to his waistband and threatened the driver, suggesting he was packing a gun and saying,“You want some of this, you really want this?”
The two men then fled the bus.
T police took a DNA swab of the saliva, in an effort to identify the spitter, but were given his name by Herald readers who recognized him from the surveillance photos.
The Herald reported last November that Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, fed up with a spike in bus drivers being spit on by angry riders — there were 24 such attacks last year — announced his officers would begin taking swabs from willing bus drivers to get DNA samples of spit-and-run perps.
Since then, the department has retrieved four samples and sent them to police crime labs to be analyzed and entered into a DNA database in an effort to find a match with known criminals, but so far none of the swabs have led to arrests, he said.
Spitting attacks on bus drivers are on the rise, with 12 incidents so far this year compared to five during the same time period last year, police said.“This behavior will not be tolerated,” Best said, adding that people who assault bus drivers will be prosecuted.