Dramatic footage shows shootout between bus driver, passenger
May 27, 2023
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Newly released surveillance footage shows a dramatic shootout between a North Carolina public bus driver and passenger while the bus was in motion.
The shooting occurred on May 18 on a Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) bus, after the passenger asked the driver to get off between stops near the Steele Creek Premium Outlet Mall, the transportation agency said.
During an approximately two-minute exchange, the passenger, identified by authorities as 22-year-old Omarri Shariff Tobias -- can be heard saying, "I dare you. I dare you to touch me. I'm going to pop your a--," in the footage, released Friday by CATS.
Tobias then walks away and can be seen pulling a firearm out of his jacket pocket, as two other passengers are visible seated on the bus, before moving back towards the front door of the bus and turning to face the driver.
The driver, identified by CATS as David Fullard, then pulls out his own firearm and both exchange rapid gunfire. CATS said it has been unable to determine who fired first. Multiple bullet holes can be seen in a transparent partition that separates the driver from passengers.
The driver then stopped the bus and left his seat as Tobias crawled his way toward the rear of the bus. The two bystander passengers had also quickly moved to the rear of the bus during the exchange of gunfire.
The driver continued to fire his gun after the initial exchange, the video shows. While standing in the aisle, he fired toward the rear of the bus where Tobias was ducking for cover. After Tobias and another bystander were able to open the rear door and exit, Fullard exited from the bus' front door and fired at Tobias again, CATS said.
Both men were struck by gunfire in the shooting -- the driver in the arm and the passenger in the abdomen -- and transported to a local hospital, CATS said. Both are expected to recover from their injuries, the agency said.
One of the bystanders could be seen tumbling to the ground as Tobias exited the bus, though both bystanders were unharmed in the incident, CATS said.
Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded to the scene and confiscated both firearms, police said.
CATS interim CEO Brent Cagle called the incident a "tragic expression of the gun violence in our community."
"We will not be able to solve this problem on our own. However, CATS is committed to doing what we can to address this with our partners at CMPD, and our partners at RATP Dev who employ and manage our bus operators," Cagle said in a statement on Wednesday.
Tobias has since been arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injuries, communicating threats and carrying a concealed firearm, police said. He is currently detained at the Mecklenburg County jail, online inmate records show. It is unclear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has not yet announced whether charges will be brought against Fullard, who has been fired, CATS said.
Fullard was an employee of RATP Dev/Transit Management, which does not allow employees to carry weapons while working, CATS said.
Fullard's attorney said he had the gun because he didn't feel safe on the job, ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC reported.
CATS said it also determined that Fullard did not follow standard safety protocols, including de-escalation, during the altercation.
"Ninety-nine percent of CATS transit happens without any operator needing to engage emergency protocols. In this case, the operator did not leverage any," CATS said, noting that Fullard could have just let the passenger off the bus between the stops in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.