What to Know
- Police say man who attacked a Metrobus driver and hijacked his bus is now in custody.
- A pedestrian was fatally struck in gas station parking lot.
- The bus driver managed to get off the bus, but suffered a back injury in the process.
A man attacked a Metrobus driver with needle-nose pliers Tuesday morning and took control of the bus, D.C. police said. The hijacker then crashed the bus into a gas station parking lot, hitting a man who later died.
Over the course of just three minutes, the hijacker boarded the bus in Northeast D.C., attacked the driver and ran over the pedestrian, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
"People were just screaming, 'Somebody hit, Somebody hit,'" said Darius Johnson, a worker at a nearby Wendy's restaurant. "When we looked, it was just chaos."
The victim, Anthony Payne, 40, of northwest Washington, was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Police said the hijacker, Keith Loving, 30, of northeast Washington boarded the bus in the 3800 block of Jay Street in Northeast D.C. about 10:30 a.m. When the bus arrived at its next stop, Loving got up and attacked the driver with the tool, police said.
The driver managed to get off the bus but suffered a back injury. He was expected to recover. Passengers on the bus saw the attack and ran out the back door, Lanier said.
Loving then drove the bus a short distance, causing several crashes along the way, police said. He sideswiped a van carrying senior citizens, its driver told News4.
"We were trying to call the police and let the police officer know that this bus was being attacked. The person that hijacked the bus, he was going so fast," the van driver said, asking that her name be withheld.
A short time later, police said Loving veered over a curb into the parking lot of a gas station at the corner of Minnesota and Nannie Helen Burroughs avenues. The bus ran over a gas station worker, identified later as Payne, who had been taking out the trash.
Payne was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead. He picked up odd jobs and had been working for the gas station, employee Isas Haile said.
"He's honest. He's very good guy. He's good person," he said.
Police officers surrounded the bus, guns drawn, and were able to subdue and arrest Loving, police and witnesses said.
"He was violent and resisting the officers when they took him off the bus," Lanier said.
"It's a bizarre incident," she added.
It wasn't immediately clear if Loving had an attorney.
Police initially said juveniles hijacked the bus, but later said just one man committed the crime.
Loving is known to police in the area, sources said. Police said he was charged with second-degree murder.
The hijacking is raising questions about the safety of bus drivers and their passengers. No protective shield separated the bus driver from passengers. All new buses purchased by Metro will be equipped with the shields, Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik previously said.
Fewer than one quarter of Metrobuses were equipped with the shields as of Tuesday, a Metro representative said. Of the 1,542 buses Metro operates, 326 buses have the shields. Another 531 buses will have the safety devices by the end of 2016.
The shields are typically used in areas where drivers have previously had trouble, the Metro representative said.
Metrobus drivers suffered at least 170 assaults on the job within a three-year span, a 2014 report by the News4 I-Team found. Bus passengers have assaulted drivers in broad daylight, in front of children and because they didn't want to pay bus fare.