A B82 MTA bus is sitting at Nostrand Avenue and Kings Highway, as police make their way to the scene in response to passengers’ death threats against the driver, according to calls over the police radio.
The call indicated that five males are on the bus threatening to shoot the driver. A passenger made the 911 call moments ago, and the operator states that the perps remain on the scene. The suspects did not display a firearm.
Police are currently en route.
UPDATE (12:15 p.m.): NYPD are on the scene. It appears that the suspects disembarked and boarded another bus heading east into the territory of the 63rd Precinct. Police are currently stopping the other bus at East 38th Street and Kings Highway. No one has been hurt as of this writing, and the suspects have still not shown a weapon.
UPDATE (12:25 p.m.): It sounds like the incident has been resolved. There were no injuries reported and they’re currently taking statements from the bus drivers. No word on arrests yet.
UPDATE (2:20 p.m.): Following our report, Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman took interest in the case. Lancman is chair of the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, and has been working with TWU Local 100 to improve safety conditions for bus drivers and other MTA employees. A representative from Lancman’s office read our report and began reaching out to various agencies as well as involved sources.
Lancman’s office tells us that four males were apprehended following the incident. One of those has been released, while the remaining three are still in custody. No weapons were found. It is still unclear on why they threatened the driver.
Lancman’s office also noted that it’s fortunate a bystander on the bus called the police, as MTA internal directives bar MTA employees from calling the police directly. Instead, they are ordered to inform their supervisors, and MTA representatives respond to the scene themselves, and only inform the police if they feel it’s warranted. It was noted that had the bystander not called, police would not have been able to pursue the suspects after they boarded another bus.
We are still awaiting information on what sparked the incident.
UPDATE (2:58 p.m.): MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz issued the following statement about the incident (h/t to NY Times City Room Editor Andy Newman for sharing):
At noon today, 4 male teens apparently threatened the bus operator on a B82 after they attempted to board the bus through the back door to evade paying their fare. Incident occurred at Kings Highway and E16th Street. After the unsuccessful attempt, the youths then entered through the front door of the bus and stated to the bus operator that “some people get shot for that.” Bus operator called for assistance. NYPD responded and issued summonses to the youths. No injuries. N/F/I at this time.
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