Suspect killed by police on Rt. 120 bus after allegedly shooting another Metro operator
A man who allegedly shot a Metro bus driver before 9 a.m. in front of Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle on Aug. 12 was fatally shot only minutes later by four Seattle police officers after he boarded a Metro 120 bus, which services much of eastern West Seattle in its travels from downtown to Burien.
According to Seattle police, the incident started at 8:45 a.m. when the suspect, identified as 31-year-old Martin A. Duckworth, boarded a Metro 27 bus at the rear doors and, when asked by the bus driver to pay, physically attacked the operator before pulling out a revolver and shooting at him multiple times. Police said the driver, 64-year-old DeLoy Dupuis, was shot in the cheek and arm.
Dupuis was in good spirits after the shooting, meeting with media only a day later and recovering at his Edgewood home in Pierce County.
After firing shots at the driver, the suspect then fled and unsuccessfully tried to steal vehicles while SPD officers pursued him. Police said Duckworth eventually boarded an eastbound 120 bus at 2nd Ave. and Seneca St., where he was confronted by officers and fatally shot while the 120 driver and his passengers scrambled to escape through the rear doors. Duckworth sustained life-threatening injuries and was taken to Harborview Medical Center where he later died.
Photographs from the scene show the 120 bus littered with bullet holes at the front windows, presumably from shots fired by SPD at the suspect. Jim O’Rourke, Metro operations manager, told the Seattle Times Duckworth came to the door of the 120 and pointed his gun at the driver, demanding he open the door. O’Rourke said the driver meant to only open the back doors to let his passengers escape, but accidentally opened the front door as well, giving Duckworth the opportunity to board. The driver rushed towards the back, frantically yelling at his riders to get down. Metro said there were between 30 and 40 passengers on the bus at the time.
O’Rourke told the Times the 120 driver, who is not being identified, is on paid leave while he receives counseling for the traumatic event.
In a news conference after the incident, SPD Chief Jim Pugel said the suspect was seen pointing his revolver at pursuing officers during the foot chase, but it is unclear if he fired any shots at them.
Beyond the Metro driver who was shot and the deceased alleged shooter, police said only minor injuries were reported including a female passenger on the 120 who sustained minor bruising while evacuating the bus and a 32-year-old SPD officer who sustained minor cuts – possibly from shattered glass.
Traffic disruptions were felt throughout the day as police closed off large sections of 2nd Ave. to investigate the crime and officer-involved shooting.
Commenting on chaotic scene, King County Executive Dow Constantine applauded the training given to Metro bus drivers and assured citizens public transportation is safe.
“I commend the actions of both of our operators who were involved in this morning’s incidents,” he said during a press conference. “Metro trains our operators to be peacekeepers, not officers,” including a policy to ask for bus fare only once, so as to not unnecessarily escalate a situation with potentially dangerous riders.
“Metro is safe,” he continued. “We carry 400,000 people every day without incident.”
“This was an isolated instance,” Constantine said. “It happened on a Metro bus but it could have happened on a sidewalk or to a driver of a car or in a place of business. Our lives are only as safe as the community and the society around us and there are, without question, a lot of people out there with guns who should not have them.”
In addition to performing a King County Metro review of the incident and any policy changes that should be made, Constantine said “We will be working with our Department of Public Health where we have launched an initiative to really examine the roots of gun violence. We want to know why this fellow had a gun, what was going on with him that he came onto a bus today and acted out, and what can be done to intervene in those circumstance to find out where, farther upstream, we could have turned him away from what happened today.”
Paul J. Bachtel, president of the Local 587 Transit Union representing Metro drivers, issued a statement that he was grateful to authorities for quickly subduing Duckworth and will be visiting with Metro officials in the coming weeks to discuss improved training on dealing with dangerous or unstable riders and the installation of additional cameras on buses.