Kansas City police are seeking the public’s help to identify two men who beat and stabbed a 52-year-old Metro bus driver Saturday night after a fare dispute.
The victim suffered stab wounds in his abdomen and back in the 9:15 p.m. attack. He is at home recovering, police said. He has been a driver for seven years.
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Police released two images of the suspects Wednesday and released video on Thursday.
Detective Jeff Littlejohn gave this account:
The attackers boarded the bus near 31st Street and Askew Avenue, but didn’t pay their fares. The men also cursed the driver for being late.
Someone on the bus offered to pay the fares to smooth over the dispute. The men sat down, but continued to curse and harass the driver.
The driver then pulled over and told the men to get off the bus. When they refused, he tried to put his hands on them to escort them off the bus. That’s when they attacked him, by repeatedly punching and kicking him. One of the men, in a blue T-shirt, tried to stab him three times.
Other passengers did not intervene, but one called 911. The attackers fled. The knife-wielding attacker appears to have a tattoo of a cross on his left forearm.
Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
The attack was the third serious assault against an Area Transportation Authority bus driver since October, when a 54-year-old driver was knocked unconscious by a sucker punch. The videotape of the assault went viral and helped Littlejohn identify an 18-year-old suspect, who was charged with a felony.
The next month, a rider punched a 59-year-old driver in the face after the driver refused to give him a transfer ticket worth $1. A 54-year-old man was arrested and charged with assault in that case.
Despite the recent assaults, ATA spokeswoman Cindy Baker said violence against drivers is still rare considering they transport 50,000 riders every day.
The ATA logs about 15 assaults against drivers each year, she said, and that includes drivers who are spat upon. Baker said she had never heard of a driver being attacked with a weapon in her 25-year career.
In light of the attacks, Baker said the ATA will review options to keep drivers safe, including revisiting an idea to have drivers sit behind a plastic shield for their protection.