Gunman wounds three on ATA bus in Kansas City

07/25/2013 12:43 PM

07/25/2013 9:13 PM

Kansas City police arrested two men and two juveniles after a gunman fired at a city bus Thursday afternoon, causing minor injuries to three passengers.

The shooting occurred about noon at 31st Street and Prospect Avenue.

According to a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, a fight broke out on the bus at the bus stop and the driver called for assistance. Three males and a woman involved in the dispute got off the bus, but one man remained on the bus.

When that man put his palm on the window, someone outside the bus fired a gun at him. The bullet hit the man’s hand. Broken glass wounded two other riders, the spokeswoman said. The victims’ injuries were not life-threatening.

Police interviewed a witness who said the victim hit in the hand and the suspects knew one another and had boarded the bus together before getting into an argument.

The group ran from the bus and headed south on Chestnut before some of them jumped over a fence and fled toward Linwood Boulevard. Officers shut down several blocks between 31st and 34th streets as they searched for the group. Within minutes, officers arrested one male in the 3100 block of Chestnut. Officers later arrested the others, including one who they believed was the gunman, said Police Capt. Tye Grant.

As police looked for the gunman, they included in his description that he might appear to be “beaten up” from the fight on the bus.

The shooting was the latest in a string of violence aboard ATA buses. Three drivers have been attacked in fare disputes in recent months, and in early July a woman sprayed passengers with gasoline and tried to light a match. In all the previous cases, police made arrests and prosecutors filed charges.

ATA spokeswoman Cindy Baker said ATA officials were gathering ideas and studying best practices for the industry to try to reduce violence on their buses.

“Everything’s on the table with regard to safety,” Baker said. “This is not going to get solved overnight. This is a reflection of what’s happening in society. People feel very comfortable solving disputes with a gun, and it’s going to spill over into transit.”

Pat Clarke, a community liaison for Police Chief Darryl Fort, said the shooting was discouraging.

“You can’t even ride the bus in peace,” he said. “Now you’re going to have people scared to catch the bus.”