A Los Angeles train engineer was arrested Wednesday for allegedly derailing a locomotive near the Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy — believing a conspiracy theory that the government is covering up the vessel’s true purpose, federal authorities said.
Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro, is accused of ramming the locomotive through two barriers and the end of a track on Tuesday and coming to rest in a gravel lot about 250 yards away from the hospital ship, according to the Department of Justice.
Nobody was injured in the derailment, which was witnessed by a nearby California Highway Patrol officer.
“You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching,” Moreno said when the officer confronted him, according to an arrest affidavit. “I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will,” he told the officer.
Moreno in two official interviews with authorities confessed to intentionally derailing the train, the feds said.
He told the Los Angeles Port Police that he thought the Mercy was being used for something other than easing the burden on Los Angeles hospitals by treating non-coronavirus related patients, an affidavit says.
The train engineer told the FBI that he did it out the desire to “wake people up,” according to the affidavit.
He said he “thought that the USNS Mercy was suspicious and did not believe ‘the ship is what they say it’s for.’ ”
He’s been charged with one count of train wrecking.