CATS releases new video showing moments before bus driver shot, killed in uptown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) has released new video Friday afternoon that shows the moments before CATS bus driver Ethan Rivera was shot and killed while on the job in uptown Charlotte.

Weeks after the shooting, authorities arrested Darian Dru Thavychith in Kansas for the deadly shooting.

The surveillance video gives a clearer picture of what happened that tragic night.

At around 9:30 p.m., a Black Honda Pilot can be seen driving aggressively behind the bus.

The Pilot is heard blaring its horn before maneuvering quickly in front of the bus, stopping quickly and cutting off the bus.

A few moments later, Rivera stops the bus next to the Pilot. He opens the bus doors, pulls down his mask and exchanges words with the driver of the Pilot.

Rivera initially calmly tells the driver to chill out but the driver of the Pilot can be heard making some sort of verbal threat, causing the argument to escalate.

Rivera then closes the doors of the bus and continues to drive before a single shot is fired into the bus, killing him.

The surveillance video then shows the bus continuing to roll down the street before crashing into a parking lot, and that was when people went to help.

The entire exchange, from the moment the Pilot started honking at the bus until Rivera was shot, was less than two minutes.

CATS release new video showing moments before bus driver shot, killed in uptown

Statement from CATS:

“The shooting of CATS bus operator Ethan Rivera was tragic and senseless. He was a public Servant and did not deserve to be harmed in any way while performing his job duties. We continue to pray for Mr. Rivera’s family.

CATS also continues to support its operators as they do the important work of moving the citizens of this region. We heard their concerns and are working with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation (SMART) employee union -- the certified collective bargaining unit that represents the bus operators -- to address them. CATS will pay close attention to security enhancements and providing operators with tools surrounding de-escalation that might help calm tense situations.”

>> In the video at the top of the page, Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis has a breakdown of the tense moments leading up to the tragedy. The footage is graphic -- viewer discretion is advised.


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Following the shooting, 41-year-old Rivera was taken to a local hospital where he died the following day.

Police said four passengers who were also on the CATS bus at the time of the shooting were not hurt.

Rivera had worked for CATS for just over two years, the agency said.

The shooting is being investigated as a road rage incident, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

Police said they arrested Thavychith, 21, in Kansas City on Feb. 28. During a news conference on March 1, they said the arrest followed a two-week manhunt through four states, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Kansas and Colorado. The FBI also assisted with his arrest.

He waived extraction during his first court appearance and will eventually be brought back to Charlotte to face murder charges.

On Feb. 13, CATS released a statement calling Rivera’s death a senseless act of violence. Rivera had worked with CATS for just over two years and was a father.

In a statement posted to Twitter on March 1, CATS CEO John Lewis said the transit company is working with the union to address driver safety.

“These enhancements will include the implementation of de-escalation and customer service training,” Lewis said.

CATS said it has added CMPD patrols at the transit center and on some bus routes. In the long-term, they will be hiring security services for all bus facilities and routes.

The agency said it has also inspected every bus to identify any bus radios that don’t work, and they are now providing employees with recruitment and retention bonuses within the next 30 days.

Return to this story for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: Suspect arrested in Kansas for road rage killing of CATS bus driver, police say)