Saturday, October 11, 2008

School Bus Camera Catches Audio of Bus Driver Threatening Parent

Exterior Bus Camera Catches Shooter Firing on CTA Transit Bus

A man charged in the fatal shooting of a Julian High School student on a CTA bus was captured on video firing toward the bus after arguing with another passenger moments earlier, prosecutors disclosed Friday.

Milton Wardlaw, charged with murder in the Sunday night slaying of Kiyanna Salter, 17, was ordered held without bail by Cook County Circuit Judge Donald Panarese.

At the bail hearing, Assistant State's Atty. Emily Leuin said three passengers and the driver of a car behind the bus all identified Wardlaw as the gunman. In addition, four security cameras inside the bus captured the altercation that led to the shooting, she said.

A camera on the exterior of the bus caught Wardlaw as he walked several feet from the bus, turned, raised a gun and fired, Leuin said.

A funeral service for Salter will be held at noon Monday at St. Sabina Church, 7801 S. Throop St., after a viewing at 11 a.m.

At an anti-violence rally Friday at the Thompson Center attended by hundreds of Julian students, Ronald Holt praised Wardlaw's mother for imploring her son to surrender to authorities. Holt's son, Blair, a Julian honor student, was fatally shot on a CTA bus last year.

"She did the right thing," said Holt.

Tribune reporter Carlos Sadovi also contributed to this report.

King County Metro Bus Cameras Key to Catching Stabbing Suspect

Photos of a man suspected of stabbing a fellow bus passenger last week helped King County sheriff's deputies spot the man sleeping on a Federal Way bus bench early Thursday and arrest him.

The suspect was caught wearing the same clothing and carrying the same backpack that was seen in a video from on an onboard bus surveillance system.

"This coach camera system is proving to be valuable," Federal Way police Cmdr. Stan McCall said. "If not for the images, of course, all we would have to go on would be a detailed description."

Deputies working the Metro Transit detail spotted the man wanted in the Sept. 30 stabbing around 5:30 a.m. Thursday at the Federal Way Transit Center.

The 19-year-old man, who has no current address, was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of assault and warrants related to earlier arrests for theft and property destruction.

The stabbing happened just before 5 a.m. Sept. 30 near the Federal Way Transit Center.

Two men aboard Metro bus 174 got into a scuffle. The bus driver tried to stop the fight, but when he couldn't, he summoned help.

As the bus left the transit center, the two men got off. It was after they got off the bus that one man stabbed the other.

The victim, a man in his 30s, suffered multiple stab wounds and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. He is expected to make a full recovery.

The assailant fled before police arrived. There were about 15 people aboard the bus at the time, and police were able to get a description of the assailant.

But that description became far more detailed when images from the onboard camera system were seen.

"You know what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words," McCall said.

Metro Transit has had onboard surveillance cameras since 2003, said deputy general manager Jim Jacobson.

"This clearly demonstrates how they can be useful," Jacobson said.

About half of Metro's fleets have cameras, he said, and the newer buses are coming wired to accept cameras when money becomes available. It costs about $5,000 per system to have the cameras installed in buses.

"We're buying more all the time," Jacobson said. "We would like to have them in all our buses."

The man arrested Thursday in the stabbing assault has a lengthy criminal history, according to court records. He has been arrested four times since December for charges ranging from theft to harassment to malicious mischief.

He was most recently released from the King County Jail on Aug. 15.

P-I reporter Hector Castro can be reached at 206-448-8334 or

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bus Drivers Want More Safety


MILWAUKEE - Who are the people caught on surveillance video, attacking people on Milwaukee County busses?

That's what the Milwaukee County sheriff wants to know.

The sheriff's department is still looking for the attackers, and the bus drivers' union wants to take steps to protect drivers.

Practically everyone who takes the bus is talking about these frequent assaults on bus drivers and passengers. It's happened more than five times in the last four months, and now drivers want to protect themselves from attackers.

Bus rider Cleveland Jones has seen the disturbing videos of bus drivers and passengers being attacked over and over again.

"It's a lot of youth, I notice. It's kids, and we've got to get a hold of them. Someway, somehow, I don't know, but I think they need some security on the bus,” Jones said.

There were two attacks this week alone. When a driver told a loud rider to be quiet, the rider punched the driver and ran off. Near 57th and Hampton, a woman minding her own business was harassed by two teens and their mother and punched in the face.

"The people that ride the bus already know what's going on. They know it's dangerous, they know it's not safe. They ride the bus because they don't have other options,” Brandon Jensen with the bus drivers’ union said.

Bus drivers Thursday asked for big changes, including arming drivers with pepper spray, having more officers ride the bus, and putting up a barrier to protect drivers.

"If they need it, they need it. It's dangerous on the bus,” bus rider Carol Grimes said.

Passengers we spoke with say they're willing to put up with whatever it takes to make things safe again.

"I think they need to be able to secure themselves and not become in a situation where they are harmed,” Jones said.

A Milwaukee Transit spokesperson says they're considering the new security plan, but some of these security measures have been talked about for years.