Reporting Jim Melwert
Filed underCrime and Justice, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
WEST OAK LANE (CBS) – For the second time in a week, a SEPTA bus driver is injured by gunfire, this time in West Oak Lane.
At about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, a SEPTA driver was in his Route 6 bus, parked at a layover on Cheltenham Avenue near Ogontz, when a stray bullet came through the windshield.
A SEPTA spokeswoman says only the driver was on the bus at the time. He wasn’t hit by gunfire, but he was hit in the eyes by flying glass.
Police say a 22-year-old man on the street was shot twice in the arm during the incident.
The man and the bus driver were both taken to Einstein Medical Center, police say, in stable condition.
Police commissioner Charles Ramsey says it’s just the latest example of violence that he says shows the need for stricter penalties for anyone shooting a gun in public.
“You got a lot of idiots out here that use fire-arms indiscriminately,” Ramsey says. “They don’t care if they’re shooting at a bus driver, kids playing down the street, they don’t care. They’ll shoot into a crowd and hit five people.”
After another SEPTA bus driver was shot in the arm while in Gray’s Ferry last Tuesday night, SEPTA management is calling for lawmakers to take action on a bill in the state senate that would increase penalties for violence against transit workers.
“They can do all that, but I’d rather see them pass a bill that, if you’re caught firing a gun in public, you get 20 years in jail, period,” said Ramsey. “It doesn’t matter who you shoot.”
Wednesday afternoon, John Johnson, President of the Transit Workers Union Local 234, held a news conference regarding the shooting, saying these type of incidents aren’t just a Philadelphia issue, but a nationwide issue. In order to prevent them, he says SEPTA should consider adding shields to protect the drivers.
Johnson said he spoke to the wife of the victim who said her husband’s face has been disfigured and shards of glass were in his face. She said they’re hoping his injuries aren’t life altering.
Because attacks on SEPTA transports have been growing, Johnson advised passengers if they’re caught in this situation take action.
“Don’t just sit there passively, become involved because your lifes is in danger,” Johnson said.
Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio