The teen, who was stabbed in the chest and bleeding heavily, was in critical condition at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
Police and witnesses said an irate passenger, who was black, began taunting a white passenger about race issues. At one point, the increasingly incensed suspect claimed he had killed the civil rights icon, triggering an argument with the teenager, who happened to attend Martin Luther King High School.
The argument spilled onto the street after the bus stopped at Dexter Avenue and Lawrence. Witnesses said the teen punched the man in the nose in self-defense and quickly retreated to the bus when the suspect pulled out a knife.
The teen, whose identity was not released, was then stabbed.
The suspect took off and remained on the loose as of this morning.
MLK was killed by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.