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Attacked woman claims trolley security failed

Posted: 10:58 AM, Dec 31, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-31 23:53:37Z
SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego woman has filed a complaint against the Metropolitan Transit System claiming she was left beaten and bruised while trying to get home from work last month.
 
"I've been looking over my shoulder ever since," Natalie Diterlizzi told 10News this week. 
 
On Nov. 24, Diterlizzi boarded near the Gas Lamp District and the San Diego Convention Center. A man sat down next to her, and a few moments later, she was attacked.
 
"I felt someone over me and just hitting me in the face and sides of the head repeatedly,” she said.
 
According to the police report, the man fled the trolley, but the damage was done. The suspect was later arrested. 
 
"I'm still dealing with concussion issues, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, increased anxiety,” she said.
 
Diterlizzi describes it as a life changing moment. Now she questions if it could have been prevented.
 
"I think that across the board security on the MTS system is absolutely inadequate,” said attorney Daniel Gilleon, who filed a complaint with MTS Wednesday on behalf of Diterlizzi.
 
Gilleon alleges at least five people have been assaulted on the trolley system, and three of the attacks happened before this incident. Gilleon also said he plans to sue MTS for inadequate security.
 
"You would think that if they have a predator out there, that their security should know about it,” Gilleon said. “That security should be increased and the passengers should know about this.”
 
MTS alleges it has one of the safest transit systems in the U.S., with very few crimes related to ridership. It told 10News it employs 220 security officers. It also has a joint area task force consisting of different law enforcement departments from across the area.
 
Diterlizzi says that in the two years she's ridden the trolley, she's never seen any security patrols. Now, despite the emotional challenges, she's just trying to get back to normal.
 
"(I have a) good support system around me,” she said.
 
In a statement, MTS wrote, in part: 
“MTS worked closely with multiple jurisdictions and provided evidentiary information to aid investigative efforts for the assaults. Additional, MTS notified the District Attorney’s Office of the multiple incidents. This led the District Attorney’s office to classify the assaults as felonies. Within hours of this determination, MTS Security identified the suspect on MTS property and notified the MTS Joint Agency Task Force, which arrested the suspect. MTS will continue to assist in the investigation as needed.”