SEATTLE — A gunman barged onto a bus and shot the driver during rush hour in busy downtown Seattle on Monday, sparking a foot chase that ended when he ran onto another bus carrying about 15 people and was cut down when an officer fired through the windows, authorities said.
The officers had to make a “life-and-death” decision about whether to shoot the suspect on the second bus, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said.
“I believe they made the right choice,” he said.
The wounded, 67-year-old driver was in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center, and the suspect was in critical condition, hospital spokeswoman Leila Gray said. Their names were not immediately released.
Two officers and several passengers on the second bus suffered minor injuries. Bullet holes in the windows suggested they might have been hit by flying glass. None had been shot.
Police were investigating what led to the shooting at a bus stop at Third Avenue and Union, just before 9 a.m. as rush hour was ending.
“All we know was he was on the bus somehow and shot the driver,” McDonagh said. “Obviously, it was a very dangerous situation.”
Two off-duty officers heard the disturbance. One gave the driver first aid and the other chased the suspect. A shot was fired at the officer during the foot chase, police said.
About three blocks away, the suspect boarded a parked bus and was shot by pursuing officers.
Susan McGuire works near the scene and said she saw the officer shoot the suspect, who was given CPR and taken to an ambulance.
“It’s sad because I feel sorry for the people on the bus,” she said.
Longshoreman Kevin Frazier was picketing and said he saw a man running with a hand in his pocket followed by police.
Streets surrounding the shooting scenes were blocked during the investigation.
“This is a rare situation on a metro bus,” McDonagh said.
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.