Metro Bus Driver Fatally Shot on West Hollywood Street in Unprecedented Murder
Chester Paul Sgroi
One of the most bizarre homicides in West Hollywood history went down yesterday morning as a passenger allegedly opened fire on a Metro bus driver not far from the city's sheriff's station.
A suspect was spotted coming out of one of the bus' windows and, according to Fox 11 News, he waited around to be arrested.
It all happened ...
View Larger Map
... shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday on Santa Monica Boulevard west of La Cienega Boulevard, sheriff's officials said.
After shots rang out the bus rolled back into a parked car as an MTA supervisor who happened to be nearby watched, sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson told CBS Los Angeles.
Cellphone video run by Fox 11 News showed several deputies quickly on the scene, guns drawn.
The driver, described by Metro as 51-years-old, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead by 9:30 a.m: He had worked as a Metro bus driver for 5 years. The bus was running along Metro's line 105 in the area.
The suspect was described as a man in his 40s. As of late Sunday he reportedly had not been booked and was being questioned at the West Hollywood sheriff's station around the corner from the incident.
CBS2 said two guns were recovered from the bus, which usually runs down La Cienega Boulevard but was rerouted to accommodate the Amgen bicycle race Sunday morning.
Later on Sunday a bomb squad was sent to the bus to check out a briefcase the suspect had left behind, according to Fox11. It was deemed to be just a briefcase.
Candles in memory of the bus driver Sunday night.
In a statement, Metro and sheriff's officials said this might be the first homicide of its kind ever for the system:
At the scene, Metro CEO Art Leahy told media that this was a highly unusual incident and that his chief concern was for the welfare of the operator's family, as well as the Metro family of bus operators. He could not recall a fatal shooting of a bus operator at Metro or at the Southern California Rapid Transit District.
[Update at 11:22 a.m.]: Anthony Craig Chambers, 41, was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, according to L.A. County Sheriff's inmate data: He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
His arrest time was pegged at 9:15 a.m. yesterday.
Metro identified the driver as 51-year-old Alan Thomas:
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.
- Super Bowl Weekend DUI Crackdown Starts Tonight
- Taxpayer-Backed Earthquake Warnings Go to Secret List of Private Companies
- El Niño Who? Summer-Like Conditions Are on the Way