CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police have arrested a man accused of shooting at a Charlotte Area Transit System bus several times early Wednesday morning in south Charlotte.
The incident happened at around 12:11 a.m. on Nations Ford Road, near Huntsmoor Drive, according to police.
A source told Channel 9 that a person tried to flag down the bus in the middle of the street. Since it was on the road, the driver didn’t feel comfortable stopping and decided to keep going.
When the driver refused to let the person on the bus, the suspect, later identified as Jason Wright, 37, fired a gun between four and six times at the CATS bus, narrowly missing the driver, the source said.
No passengers were on the bus at the time and the 41-year-old driver was not hurt, according to investigators.
Later Wednesday evening, officers found Wright near Nations Ford Road and took him into custody. He has been charged with carrying a concealed gun, discharging a weapon at an occupied dwelling/moving vehicle, possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm by a felon.
He is currently being held at the Mecklenburg County jail.
CATS CEO John Lewis released a video statement Friday night stating the transit system has zero tolerance for violence and threats.
He talked about new security measures they are testing.
“We’ve also begun testing a camera system on buses that riders can see themselves in real-time as they enter the bus,” Lewis said. (You can watch the video below)
Channel 9′s Glenn Counts spoke to CATS passengers and a bus driver, who said the trend of violence on city buses was concerning.
One bus driver talked to Counts but asked that his identity be concealed and his voice distorted. He said a lot of drivers were worried.
Back in February, CATS bus driver Ethan Rivera was shot and killed along his route in uptown, in an act of road rage. Police said Rivera was driving when he and Darian Thavychith got into an argument. Thavychith has been arrested and charged with murder.
“We just lost one of our drivers, one of our best drivers. Now they shot up a bus (and) we’re a little scared about this stuff,” said the driver.
The driver said a lot of passengers don’t truly understand the danger that drivers face.
“There is a lot of danger out there. If you’re driving a train, at least you are in a booth (and) nobody can get to you, but if you’re a bus driver, they can get to you and especially late at night, I really feel sorry for a lot of the female drivers, they get a lot of craziness late at night,” said the driver.
Passengers told Counts that they were also angered by the close call and believe drivers deserve more respect and protection.
Debbie White often uses CATS transportation, and she became friends with Ethan Rivera on her route.
“I knew him very well; he was like my bus driver for two years, so we had grew a bond, and we talked every day,” White said.
Drivers have been pushing for bullet proof shields for months, and the driver whom Counts spoke to said it’s a necessity.
“We need the bullet proof shields up. We need that out there. We need some protection. We’re out here driving, and you don’t know what’s gonna happen,” the driver said.
CATS said there is no update on the process of obtaining bulletproof shields, but they did issue a statement on Tuesday night’s incident.
Statement from CATS:
“We are aware of the incident that took place last night on bus number 2150. CATS can confirm that the operator was not injured and there were no passengers on the bus. CATS takes all safety and security incidents very seriously and we work alongside our law enforcement partners to hold all parties involved accountable. As this incident is still under investigation, please reach out to CMPD for more information.”
Full statement from victim’s attorney:
“The Law Office of Ken Harris & Associates, P.A. represents the CATS driver who was involved in the recent shooting into a CATS bus. This shooting is one of a series of disturbing incidents that raise serious concern about driver safety in the CATS system. Harris and his team have represented CATS drivers who have sustained injuries in prior shooting incidents and Harris has represented many CATS drivers who have sustained severe injuries. Harris and his team will be conducting an investigation of this matter. Driver safety must be a clear priority for the CATS system and the City of Charlotte.”
Anyone with information on where the suspect may be is asked to contact 911. People can also leave information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or by clicking here.
This is a developing story. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
(WATCH BELOW: CATS continues to ensure public transportation is safe for passengers)
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