A bus driver in Charlotte, North Carolina was fired last month after using a firearm to defend himself.
Here’s What Happened
The confrontation began when the passenger, identified by authorities as Omarri Tobias, requested to be let off the bus between stops. The driver, David Fullard, informed Tobias that he would have to wait until the next approved stop.
WSOC-TV learned in court, “Tobias allegedly tried to ride the bus without paying, which prosecutors said helped lead to the confrontation.”
After a brief exchange and at least one expletive, Tobias brandished a gun and aimed it at Fullard. In response, Fullard also produced a firearm, and both individuals fired shots almost simultaneously.
CNN reports that the sequence of events remains unclear, including uncertainty about who fired first
Fullard sustained an arm injury, while Tobias was struck in the abdomen.
The incident was captured on video, showing Fullard stopping the bus and opening the shattered driver barrier, gun in hand. Tobias crawled towards the rear of the bus, where the two other passengers had relocated. Fullard fired another shot from the bus aisle.
Tobias and a passenger exited through the side door, while Fullard left through the front door, firing his gun again.
According to the transit system, both Fullard and Tobias are now in stable condition, expected to recover, and no other passengers were harmed in the incident
After six days in the hospital, Tobias was transferred to the care of authorities. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, communicating threats, and carrying a concealed firearm.
It remains uncertain whether Fullard will face charges.
The Bus Driver Is Facing Backlash
Fullard’s employer, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), terminated his employment following the incident. According to company policy, explained CEO Brent Cagle, weapons are strictly prohibited.
The transit system stated that Fullard failed to follow proper protocol by not attempting to de-escalate the situation and allowing Tobias to exit the bus before the next stop.
Fullard’s attorney, Ken Harris, emphasized that his client was a dedicated employee with over 19 years of service and is currently recovering from his injuries.
The attorney also highlighted the ongoing issue of bus drivers being assaulted or harmed while performing their duties.
“You have these incidents that happen over and over again, where drivers are being assaulted, shot at, shot, or killed,” said Harris on the local WCNC News.
“It creates a situation where drivers fear that they won’t make it home.“
Demands have been repeated to enhance security measures for drivers and provide safeguards to protect them in their workplace. Many of Fullard’s fellow drivers have spoken out about their safety.
“We do understand that we are dealing with the general public,” WBTV quotes one CATS driver as saying, “But we expect to be taken care of.”
Tobias is currently held on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court. Police are continuing their investigation into the incident.
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