Early Monday morning, one woman was killed and five others were wounded when a gunman opened fire on a Greyhound bus in California packed with 42 passengers.
It might have been a lot worse, but for the quick-thinking actions of the bus driver.
At about 1:27 local time, authorities said a 911 call came in saying several passengers had been shot by a man on a Greyhound bus on route to San Francisco from Los Angeles. The bus departed Los Angeles at 11:30 p.m. Sunday and was scheduled to make stops in the cities of Avenal and Oakland before arriving in San Francisco about around 7:30 am on Monday, according to Greyhound’s website.
California Highway Patrol Sgt. Brian Pennings said once the gunman started shooting, the driver, who has not been named, had the presence of mind to drive the bus over to the shoulder of the highway, disarm the shooter and get him off the bus.
“The driver of the bus immediately pulled to the right shoulder and somehow — we’re still trying to figure out how this happened — was able to coerce the suspect off of the bus,” Pennings said, “I’ve been on for 25 years and I’ve never seen this happen.”
Apparently the driver managed to get the gunman off voluntarily, leaving behind a handgun and several magazines.
Pennings added, “I will tell you the bus driver, his actions were very appropriate. One could say heroic.
Ok, we’ll say it: HEROIC.
After the driver kicked the gunman out, he pulled off the highway at the next exit and parked the bus at a gas station where first responders rushed to the scene.
A 51-year-old woman died at the scene. Based on her passport she was a native of Colombia. Pennings said another wounded passenger was airlifted to the hospital, and the others were shuttled by ambulance.
Meanwhile the hunt was on for the shooter — which was mercifully short. CHP officers found him where he was dropped off, and he was arrested without incident.
Twenty-nine-year-old Mark Grabban, one of the passengers, told NBC News he noticed the shooter as soon as he boarded the bus because he was very tall, and seemed to be babbling incoherently. Later into the journey, the shooter shouted some expletives, cocked his firearm and fired off eight or nine rounds.
Grabban and his girlfriend, with whom he was traveling, dived under their seats. He said the shooter was aiming for the back of the bus, where they were seated.
“I was assuming I was going to get shot,” Grabban said, “The (shell) casing ended up on my lap.”
No further information has been released about the identities of the suspect, the victims or the passengers. According to the LA Times, the gunman was taken into custody, and federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are working to trace the weapon.
We don’t know the driver’s ethnicity, political affiliation, opinion on the Second Amendment or religious beliefs. But it doesn’t matter. He just did what was right at the moment.
Just your everyday hero. An ordinary person, doing extraordinary things, when it matters most.