LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A 53-year-old woman says she was attacked and punched in the face by another passenger on a Metro train in Long Beach.
"I thought I was going to die," said the woman who did not feel comfortable sharing her name due to safety concerns.
The victim says she got on the train with her friend at the downtown Long Beach station on Wednesday evening.
She says a man was sitting behind and then two women boarded the train with a dog. They were walking up and down the aisle.
"My friend, he was afraid that one of them would fall so he stretched out his hand to try to help the woman in case she fell. And I told him that did not look good. I was like 'take your hand off because you're a man and she's a woman. Don't do that.'"
That's when the man sitting behind them started screaming, the victim said.
The victim said they began to argue, which caught the attention of one of the women. That woman then jumped in and started using racial slurs aimed at the victim.
"She came toward me and my friend was close by... I tried to get out of her way and she started punching me and I fell backward. She kept punching me... I was trying to block and luckily my friend finally blocked her."
An eyewitness on the train, Twila Mahone, did not want to show her face on camera but told Eyewitness News the victim was on the phone with police while trying to get the conductor to stop the train for 11 minutes.
"It was a brutal attack. A very, very brutal attack that should never happen," she said.
According to Mahone, the train finally stopped at the Artesia station.
The victim says the man who first heckled her intentionally knocked her phone out of her hand, shattering it. All suspects fled the scene before police arrived.
A statement from the Long Beach Police Department reads in part: "Suspect information and the motive for the battery is under investigation. At this time, there is no information to indicate this is a hate or bias-motivated incident. The investigation is ongoing."
The victim said she doesn't take the train every day, but after this attack she says she might never ride the Metro train again.