1 dead, 2 hurt in bus shooting Driver, passengers flee in terror near Union Square

September 11, 1997|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

Gunfire on an MTA bus in West Baltimore left one person dead and two wounded, sending passengers fleeing in panic last night, city police said.

At least 20 passengers were on the bus when the shooting occurred about 7 p.m. in the 100 block of S. Gilmor St., near Union Square.

Mass Transit Administration spokesman Anthony Brown said at least two of the passengers and the driver, a 10-year MTA employee, suffered minor injuries in the rush to get off the bus when the gunfire broke out. They were taken to University of Maryland Medical Center and Bon Secours Hospital.

According to an initial police account, two men sitting in the back of the westbound No. 2 bus were talking to each other when one of them pulled a handgun and fired several shots, hitting the other at least four times and killing him.

At least two bullets struck two other passengers, a man and a woman, who were sitting near the gunman and the victim, said Officer Angelique Cook-Hayes, a city police spokeswoman.

The gunman escaped.

Cook-Hayes said the wounded passengers were taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Their conditions were not immediately known, but the injuries were not considered life-threatening, she said.

Cook-Hayes said police did not know a motive for the shooting.

Brown said the driver, whose name was not released, did not have a chance to radio his dispatcher about the shooting.

City police officers were on the scene in minutes, however -- including one who had been on patrol in Union Square Park.

Homicide Detective Sean Harrison said the bus was moving south on Gilmor Street when the shooting occurred and that the driver immediately stopped the vehicle and "sealed the doors" to prevent passengers from getting off. "The passengers had to force the doors open to escape," Harrison said.

Brown said the shooting on the No. 2 run between City Hall and Catonsville was an isolated incident, and that the people who account for 300,000 MTA rides each day should not feel that taking the bus is dangerous.

"This was an unfortunate incident on an otherwise safe transit system," he said.

Police said all the uninjured passengers were taken by a second MTA bus to police headquarters for questioning.

Crime-lab technicians were gathering evidence from the bus, which was stopped by the curb outside Steuart Hill Elementary and across the street from the square park when the shooting occurred. Included in the evidence was property left behind by passengers, which may have included items dropped by the gunman, police said. The name of the victim -- who was described by Homicide Detective Oscar Requer only as "a young black man" -- was not released last night.

Southern District Officer Edward Carrington said he was patrolling in the park about 7 p.m. when a man ran toward him yelling, "There's been a shooting on the bus!" Carrington said as he neared the bus, he saw several passengers running in all directions and screaming.

"When I got on the bus," Carrington said, "I ran to the back and found the man lying dead on the rear seat near a window." He said the man had been shot at least once in the chest.

Pub Date: 9/11/97

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