A 44-year-old train engineer was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly derailing a train near the USNS Mercy hospital ship in the Port of Los Angeles. The man admitted to police that he was hoping to draw attention to the USNS Mercy's presence in the Port of Los Angeles, believing it to be part of a larger COVID-19 conspiracy or possible government takeover. The hospital ship arrived last month to help relieve the state's medical resources which are expected to be inundated as the number of coronavirus cases is expected to rise in the state.
A California Highway Patrol officer who witnessed the incident reported seeing "the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence,” according to court documents. The same officer took Eduardo Moreno into custody after seeing the suspect flee the scene. According to that officer, Moreno made the following statements: "You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will."
Eduardo Moreno was arrested on one federal charge of train wrecking, according to reports. The derailed train came to rest a little more than 250 yards from where the USNS Mercy is currently docked in the Port of Los Angeles. The Mercy was not harmed in any way, and no one was injured in the incident. The suspect said he acted alone and will face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
California Governor Gavin Newsom wrote a letter to President Trump last month asking the commander-in-chief to deploy the USNS Mercy hospital ship to California. The ship has 12 fully-equipped emergency rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, and other equipment that will be used to treat non-coronavirus-related patients. The ship's sister ship, the USNS Comfort, arrived in New York to complete a similar mission. President Trump attended the sendoff of the USNS Comfort over the weekend as the ship left Norfolk, Virginia headed for New York.