Fort Lauderdale, FL – Two people have died and two more are seriously wounded after a man opened fire on a Broward County Transit bus on Thursday, but police said it would have been much worse if not for the quick-thinking bus driver.
“The bus driver in this particular case, her quick actions I am sure saved lives,” Fort Lauderdale Police Acting Chief Luis Alvarez told reporters, according to WTVJ. “So kudos to her. She deserves to be applauded for her actions.”
The incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. on March 17 in the midst of busy traffic on Broward Boulevard.
Police said that the bus driver heard gunshots on her bus and realized her bus was “pinned in” and couldn’t cross the roadway, WTVJ reported.
So she maneuvered around other vehicles, crossed the road, jumped a curb, and ultimately stopped the bus right in front of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department located in the 1300-block of Broward Boulevard.
Surveillance videos showed the bus struck two other vehicles as it careened toward safety, WPLG reported.
Officers rushed out of the police station after the bus stopped.
Police said 34-year-old Jamal J. Meyers stepped off of the bus and surrendered to officers without incident.
Meyers was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, weapons possession by a convicted felon, and violating probation, WTVJ reported.
Officials said more charges were pending.
The four passengers who had been shot were rushed to Broward Health Medical Center for treatment, WPLG reported.
Two of them died.
One remained in critical condition and another was in serious condition on Friday, according to officials.
Three more people were treated at the scene for injuries caused during the related traffic accidents, according to WTVJ.
“It was really horrifying,” Darnell Coles told WPLG.
Coles was injured when the bus struck a white Mercedes next to the taxi he was riding in.
“The way she was set up for that situation, I understand why we got hit,” he continued. “Someone behind you, popping a gun and shooting folks, and you’re trapped — you have got to do something.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said Meyers is considered a “serious habitual felon” who has been charged numerous times since 2003, WTVJ reported.
Court records showed he was sentenced in 2021 for 10 crimes committed between 2017 and 2019.
He was sentenced to three years for each conviction, to be served concurrently, WTVJ reported.
After getting credit for more than 800 days served awaiting trial, court records showed that Meyers ended up serving only five months in state prison and was released on Jan. 8.