Seattle police fired into a rush hour bus this morning when a gunman, who had already shot the driver of another bus, twice raised his gun and pointed it at police.
The morning chaos erupted at 8:48 a.m. when the suspect entered the city bus improperly through the rear door and began pacing back and forth before he went up to the driver and shot him twice, police said.
The gunfire sent terrified passengers, some of them yelling, streaming off the bus, Police Chief Joe Pugel told a news conference this evening. Some of the passengers alerted a pair of cops nearby.
The gunman also fled the bus and the passengers pointed out the gunman. As they pursued the suspect, the shooter turned and pointed his weapon at the officers and “there was a possible clicking sound,” Pugel said.
The suspect ran to a second bus and got on. As the officers approached, he raised his gun and pointed it at them, the chief said. The officers opened fire. The suspect raised his gun a second time, prompting a second barrage from the officers into the bus, Pugel said.
The officers had to make a “life-and-death” decision whether to shoot the suspect on the second bus carrying about 15 passengers, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said, according to the Associated Press.
“I believe they made the right choice,” he said.
The suspect was given CPR and taken to the hospital, the AP reported.
The driver, who is 64, was shot in the cheek and the torso and was hospitalized, but his injuries are not life threatening, the police said.
“His wounds are survivable,” Pugel said.
Officials did not identify the driver other than to say he has worked as a bus driver for the city since 1999.
Mayor Michael McGinn expressed sympathy for the bus driver and his family, noting that assaults from passengers were not in the job description. “They don’t sign up for this,” he said.
With the exception of the gunman and the driver, no one else was seriously injured, said the police.
Police have not confirmed the identity of the suspect, and they are still investigating the motive for the shooting.