Bus surveillance video released Friday shows a shootout between a passenger and now-fired Charlotte bus driver earlier this month after the passenger wielded a gun.
Police and the Charlotte Area Transit System said the passenger and the bus driver shot at each other after getting into an argument near Steele Creek’s Charlotte Premium Outlet Mall May 18.
The newly-released video, aired by WSOC, the Observer’s news partner, does not make clear who fired first but shows the passenger taunting the driver after he refused to let him off at a non-bus stop.
The driver, identified by CATS as David Fullard, told him to move back away from the door and front of the bus, audio with the video footage indicates.
The passenger, Omarri Sharrif Tobias, 22, faces several assault charges and was jailed with a $250,000 bond after a six-day hospital stay, public records show. He is no longer allowed on any of Charlotte’s public transit system, a judge ruled. The shooting led to his fifth arrest in the last three years, jail records show.
Fullard was dismissed from his duties, CATS said Wednesday, and the city transit system will be adding new safety measures.
What the video of CATS shooting shows
In the audio that accompanies the video, the driver tells Tobias to move back away from the door and the front of the bus.
“I dare you. Touch me,” Tobias said. “I dare you to touch me. I’m going to pop your [expletive]!”
Video shows Tobias pull out a gun. So does Fullard. Multiple shots are fired. Bullet holes riddle the shield to the driver’s side. Blood splatter is seen on the floor around the bus loading area.
The footage shows Tobias crawl and move toward the middle of the bus, near a door.
After the initial shootout, the video shows Fullard following Tobias, who he’d clearly injured. The driver continued to shoot at Tobias while he ducked behind a large donated items-drop box and another passenger ran away from the bus. No other passengers were injured.
Interim CATS CEO Brent Cagle did not speak about the shooting until nearly a week later.
“It’s never okay for passengers to assault drivers, to threaten drivers,” Cagle said during a Wednesday press conference. “However, we also acknowledge that gun violence and violence in general is pervasive throughout the community.”
Charlotte buses have two silent alarms: one that allows security to listen into what’s happening on the bus and another that displays “911 call police” on the outside of the bus. Fullard did not hit either button, officials say.
In 2022, 41-year-old CATS driver Ethan Rivera died after being shot aboard his bus. Police charged Darian Dru Thavychith, 21, with murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle, according to jail records.
More than $5.5 million could be allocated for camera replacements, dispatch upgrades and safety programs if CATS’ proposed capital project budget for 2024-2028 is approved.