A North Carolina bus driver lost his job, but not his life, after defending himself against a passenger who triggered a shootout on the moving vehicle, all caught on camera.
May 18 footage from inside a Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) captured the moments as a disagreement turned to bloodshed between driver David Fullard and 22-year-old suspect/passenger Omarri Shariff Tobias.
A release from CATS suggested that the suspect had initially requested to be let off between stops only to have the 19-year employee inform him that unauthorized stops were against policy. As an argument ensued, Tobias, who was suddenly holding a handgun, could be heard shouting, “Touch me! I dare you to touch me. I’m gonna pop your a**.”
Shortly thereafter, Fullard brandished his own weapon and a shootout ensued through the partition before the suspect could be seen crawling toward the back of the bus where two other passengers had taken cover.
The driver had been steering the bus throughout the fight and managed to pull over near the Charlotte Premium Outlet Mall where the bystanders fled from the vehicle. Meanwhile, Fullard, who had been shot in the arm, had gotten out of his seat and shouted at the suspect, “Get the f*ck back.”
Moments later, Tobias also fled from the bus only to be briefly pursued by Fullard who appeared to fire an additional shot at the suspect. At some point in the conflict, Tobias was struck in the abdomen.
After the incident, both men were treated at a nearby hospital and, in the days that followed, Fullard was fired from RATP Dev, the employer of CATS bus operators. CATS interim CEO Brent Cagle had said at a press conference, “We don’t want anyone possessing weapons on our vehicles.”
Along with axing the driver over having a gun, a violation of company policy, a statement from CATS contended he hadn’t taken the actions necessary to prevent the conflict.”It would have been reasonable for the operator to attempt to de-escalate the situation by allowing the suspect/passenger to exit the bus before arriving at the next bust stop.”
Meanwhile, podcaster Mrgunsngear defended Fullard’s decision and his actions as he shared a video of the incident with the caption, “The bus driver got fired as Charlotte is a leftist stronghold. But, he’s alive because he was carrying a gun.”
“You can always find another job so long as you can still go home at night…” he added.
The bus driver got fired as Charlotte is a leftist stronghold. But, he’s alive because he was carrying a gun.
— Mrgunsngear (@Mrgunsngear) May 28, 2023
In an email to CNN, Fullard’s attorney Ken Harris expressed, “I have represented a substantial number of CATS drivers over the years. Some of whom have been assaulted, shot at or shot during their work activity.”
“They consider themselves public servants. In light of their commitment, dedication and the workplace dangers that they encounter, we have continuously encouraged the CATS system to enhance security measures for drivers,” Harris wrote.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced that Tobias was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injuries, communicating threats, and carrying a concealed firearm. He was being held in lieu of a $250,000 bond with his next court appearance slated for June 6.
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