Seattle police: Metro bus driver shot in downtown Seattle
The suspected gunman in Monday’s shooting of a Metro Transit driver has died at Harborview Medical Center.
Police sources said 31-year-old Martin Duckworth shot the 64-year-old bus driver on Route #27 multiple times around 8:45 a.m. at Third Avenue and Union Street.
The driver, a veteran of Metro Transit, has been identified as Deloy Dupuis. He was treated and released late Monday afternoon, according to a Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman.
Police chased Duckworth to another bus near Second Avenue and Seneca Street and opened fire. Seattle police said Duckworth was in the area of the driver’s seat at the time he was shot. Images from the scene at Second and Seneca show the bus windshield riddled with bullet holes.
The officers had to make a “life-and-death” decision whether to shoot Duckworth on the second bus carrying passengers, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh told reporters at the scene.
“I believe they made the right choice,” he said.
Seattle Police Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said Duckworth had fired at a pursuing officer before boarding the second bus.
Police say once Duckworth was on board that bus, the driver tried to evacuate 15 passengers.
Duckworth was in the news earlier this year when he was shot in the face during a reported carjacking in Pioneer Square in March. He has a lengthy criminal history and was on community supervision since October 2011 when he completed a sentence for multiple drug convictions. He was considered a high risk violent offender. He was arrested for failing to check in with his community corrections officer.
Acting Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel says the incident started when Duckworth and two other people improperly entered the first bus through the back door. When the driver asked them to re-enter from the front and pay their fare, Duckworth reportedly “paced around”, before assaulting the driver and shooting him at least twice.
As passengers fled in panic, two officers rushed to the aid of the driver while another officer chased Duckworth, who pointed his gun at police.
Police say Duckworth unsuccessfully tried to hijack a service truck and another car, eventually jumping on the Metro bus on the southwest corner of Seneca approaching Second Ave.
Officers converged on the bus, where Duckworth raised his gun at least once, was shot and then raised the gun a second time and was shot again.
“From the time the first call came out until the time he was taken into custody was seven minutes, which is phenomenal,” Pugel said.
Pugel defended the officers handling of the situation, including the shooting of the suspect with passengers still aboard the bus.
“Fundamentally the officers at the scene knew they had a person who had just shot someone else and who had potentially tried to shoot them and hijack two cars as they were chasing him.”
A female bus passenger suffered bruising during the evacuation, but no other serious injuries among passengers were reported. All the passengers on both buses were sequestered for police questioning.
The injuries suffered by the driver were reported as non-life-threatening. King County Executive Dow Constantine told KIRO Radio the driver wanted him to let everyone know he is OK.
“He’s awake, alert, even joking,” said Constantine, of the driver listed in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center. “One of his first questions to me was about the safety of his passengers.”
Two officers also suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to Harborview for treatment.
Streets surrounding the shooting scenes were blocked during the investigation. Authorities cleared the scene at Third Avenue by noon and traffic was moving. But traffic remained blocked around the second scene at Second and Seneca in a two block radius for about eight hours. The streets were reopened just before 5:00 p.m.
Metro buses in the area were also rerouted.
McDonagh said shootings aboard buses in Seattle are unusual.
“This is a rare situation to have a shooting situation involving the Metro buses. We have over 400,000 people that ride buses everyday in Seattle and obviously this doesn’t happen very often.”
Witnesses at the scene of the first shooting described it as chaotic. Some reported the shooter was acting crazy and some heard him yell, “war, war, war.”
Police remained at the scene and continued to investigate what led up to the initial shooting at the bus stop at Third Avenue and Union.
“All we know was he was on the bus somehow and shot the driver,” McDonagh said. “Obviously, it was a very dangerous situation.”
Susan McGuire works near the scene and said she saw the officer shoot Duckworth, who was given CPR and taken to an ambulance.
“It’s sad because I feel sorry for the people on the bus,” she said.
This isn’t the first shooting of a Metro driver in the Seattle area. On Nov. 27, 1998, a bus driver was killed when he was shot while driving across the city’s Aurora Bridge. Mark F. McLaughlin, 44, died after the bus smashed through a railing, bounced off an apartment building and crashed into the ground about 50 feet below.
McLaughlin was shot by passenger Silas Cool, 43, who authorities said committed suicide. The 33 other passengers were hurt, with one dying the next day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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