Posted on: May 5, 2023, 06:39h.
Last updated on: May 5, 2023, 07:00h.
Another brutal incident unfolded on an RTC bus in Las Vegas this week with a passenger getting shot on Wednesday afternoon. The continuing violence renewed drivers’ calls to place transit police officers on the buses.
In the latest incident, a passenger boarded a public bus at Eastern Avenue and Poppy Lane, and then shot another passenger. The victim was rushed to University Medical Center. That suspect remains on the loose.
On the same day, a man was stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife at a bus stop on North Las Vegas Boulevard. The suspect, William Smith, 55, turned himself into the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), Las Vegas TV station KLAS reported.
He faces attempted murder and battery with the use of a deadly weapon charges.
Drivers Speak Out
Drivers are concerned about safety on the buses.
One driver, Leo Henderson, told KLAS this week, “We get spit on, we get thrown urine.”
“All we want is for our drivers to be treated with dignity,” Henderson said.
The conditions on buses lead Henderson to run for a seat in the Nevada state senate where he could work on relevant legislation.
Also, last month, RTC bus drivers held a rally to highlight the issue in front of the Clark County Government Center before a Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada April 13 board meeting. A second rally was held on April 23 at the Bonneville Transit Center.
There were many demands for the region to get a transit police force.
We need a presence that makes a difference,” Terry Richards, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1637, which represents the RTC drivers, was quoted by Las Vegas TV station KTNV.
Richards added that passengers are more violent now than in the past, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
RTC driver Dennis Hennessey also claimed at the April 13 rally that drivers “run the risk of being spit on, urine dumped on them, verbally assaulted, physically assaulted. And there’s nobody out there to help us. There’s no consequences. That’s why we need transit police.”
The RTC issued recent statements that passenger and driver safety is its priority, and noted recent expenditures to improve safety. Security guards ride on many RTC buses, too.
But Sandra Adams, the union’s vice president, who has been a bus driver for 12 years, contends the private guards are inadequate.
They have security guards that sit on there, they cannot do anything but sit there,” Adams was quoted by another local TV station, KVVU. “They can’t protect us; they can’t do anything.”
The RTC board is likely to discuss the issue again at a scheduled May 18 meeting.
Casino.org reached out to a spokesperson for Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman for comments on the issue. No immediate statement was released.
Recent violence on buses and at bus stops include:
- Xavier Whatley, 40, was waiting to board a bus at Las Vegas’s Bonneville Transit Center on April 24, when he allegedly stabbed a bus supervisor, George Duke, with a 10-inch knife. Whatley was charged with attempted murder.
- Allyn McFarland, 29, on March 20, allegedly bit an LVMPD officer on the ear and struck other officers near a bus stop. He also threw rocks and a trash can at a bus security officer, police said. He initially had allegedly barricaded himself on a bus. McFarland was charged with mayhem, battery with substantial bodily harm, mistreating a police animal, and seven counts of battery on a protected person.
- Aaron Cole, 59, holding a knife, threatened a fellow bus passenger, Abraham Guerrero, on February 16, authorities said. Cole was charged with assault with the use of a deadly weapon and two counts of carrying a concealed weapon.
- Cole on February 26 allegedly stabbed passenger Dominique Lucas, 30, some 33 times. Lucas died from extensive wounds. Cole was charged with murder.