One person was killed and five others were wounded in a shooting on a Greyhound bus traveling from Los Angeles to the Bay Area early Monday, officials said.
An unidentified man was taken into custody, according to California Highway Patrol communications supervisor Steve Loftus. Investigators have not determined a motive.
Police began getting calls from passengers on the bus, traveling on Interstate 5, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, Loftus said. The bus had left Los Angeles about an hour earlier, headed to the San Francisco-Oakland area with 43 people on board, including the driver.
After the gunman opened fire, the bus driver pulled over to the shoulder and “was able to persuade the shooter” to get off the bus, Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol said during a news conference Monday morning.
The suspect “voluntarily” got off the bus, leaving a black handgun behind, Pennings said. Officers located him on the shoulder and took him into custody without incident.
The bus driver, who was not injured, “handled the situation professionally and appropriately to minimize any more possible victims,” Pennings said.
After dropping off the suspect, the driver pulled off at the next exit in Grapevine, south of Bakersfield.
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Mark Grabban, 29, who was on the bus with his girlfriend said he noticed the suspect right away.
“He was, massive, so tall, I remember before this happened, I noticed he had really big shoes on,” Grabban said, adding that the suspect was talking loudly and “incoherently” when he got on the bus and got into an argument with someone who asked him to quiet down.
“He was muttering things, about ‘wait till we get to the station,'” Grabban said.
Suddenly, Grabban said he heard “‘f— you, f— all of you.’ And I heard a gun cock, and eight to nine rounds let off.”
“I dove to the floor right to under the seat, I got to my girlfriend, tried to put her head down. I was just waiting for the next shot, I was assuming I was going to get shot,” said Grabban. “There was a mother with two small girls, who were either four or three, frozen with fear, and I was shaking, telling them to stay down.”
He said the shooter aimed toward the back of the bus, where Grabban was sitting. “The casing ended up on my lap,” he said.
After the driver let the shooter off the bus, Grabban said he didn’t immediately drive away. “He thought that the gunshots were something wrong with the engine. Everyone was screaming at the driver to drive away.” He eventually did and pulled off the highway and into a Valero gas station.
“I saw the blood on the floor of the aisle. I looked to the woman on the left, and she wasn’t responding, wasn’t moving or anything. She was lifeless,” Grabban said. “It was horrifying to see. I hadn’t seen anything like it.”
The body of the person who was killed — identified by her passport as a 51-year-old woman from Colombia — was still on the bus as authorities processed the scene Monday morning.
The uninjured passengers also remained at the scene to be interviewed, Pennings said, adding the incident was unusual. “I’ve been on 25 years; I’ve never seen this happen,” he said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Kern County Sheriff’s Office were assisting the California Highway Patrol with the investigation.
Of the five wounded victims, one was airlifted to the hospital. Two were in serious condition, Pennings said.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone and every family member impacted by the incident today,” Greyhound said in a statement.
Grabban questioned why the bus line does not use metal detectors to screen passengers for weapons. “I feel like the Greyhound cared more about people not smoking or talking loudly on the bus,” Grabban said. “It seems ridiculous to me.”
He said ever since he moved to the U.S. from England three years ago, he feared a mass shooting.
“I had genuine fear that when I moved to America something like that’s gonna happen, and it just so happened that it did,” Grabban said. “It’s more terrifying than I could have imagined.”