Seattle bus driver shot in torso gets passengers to safety

Thursday, March 28, 2019

SEATTLE (AP) — A bus driver hailed as a hero for steering his bus away from a gunman who opened fire in Seattle on him and his passengers says he was just doing his job but is “glad to be alive.”

Eric Stark was hit in the torso by a bullet but authorities have said he still managed to turn the bus around and drive his passengers to safety from the gunman walking in a neighborhood who went on to kill two men, apparently at random, before he was taken into custody

Stark ,53, “saved lives and took action even after being harmed,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin. But Stark, recovering Thursday in a hospital, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday “it’s what any other driver would be able to do if they were physically able,”

The events unfolded at about 4 p.m. Wednesday in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood, when the gunman walked up to a 56-year-old female driver, shooting and wounding her. The man, who police had still not identified Thursday, then walked on and fired at the bus, hitting Stark, authorities said.

“I ducked down really quick for some cover, did like a two-second assessment of my injuries and figured — well, I can breathe, I can think, I can see, and I can talk,” Stark said from his hospital room. “So for me that was enough to go, ‘OK, we’re getting out of here. I’ve gotta get these people out of here.’”

The gunman, identified in jail records as Tad Michael Norman, then approached a second motorist and opened fire, killing a 50-year-old man, according to police. After officers arrived, the suspect fled in that victim’s vehicle. He drove a few blocks and then collided with another car, killing the 70-year-old male driver, fire department officials said.

Norman, 33, was taken into custody after a brief standoff, police said. King County Jail records showed he was booked on investigation of homicide, robbery and assault Thursday after his release from a hospital for treatment of what were characterized as minor injuries.