It appeared to be a routine Monday morning commute when a Route 27 Metro Transit bus stopped at 8:48 a.m. on Third Avenue in front of Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle.
Three people used a rear door to board the bus, including a man in a hooded, dark-colored sweatshirt.
The driver asked the three to pay their fares, and two complied. But the man in the sweatshirt paced back and forth inside the bus, then
physically attacked the 64-year-old driver.
The man, 31-year-old Martin Anwar Duckworth, then shot and wounded the driver at least twice with a revolver, striking him in the cheek and arm, officials said.
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Over the next seven minutes, terrified witnesses watched police chase the gunman to another Metro bus a couple of blocks away, where officers made a split-second decision to open fire despite the presence of passengers.
The four officers fired “to try to stop a lethal threat,” Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Duckworth, described as a street criminal with a history of drug offenses and mental-health problems, was the only person hit in the barrage. He underwent surgery at Harborview Medical Center but died from his injuries about seven hours after he was shot.
The wounded driver, identified as 64-year-old DeLoy Dupuis, was “remarkably upbeat” and in good spirits after being shot, King County Executive Dow Constantine said outside Harborview on Monday morning. Dupuis, who was released from the hospital late Monday afternoon, is expected to fully recover from his injuries, he said.
One of Dupuis’ first questions was “how were his passengers,” said Constantine, who visited with Dupuis and his wife at the hospital. He has been a driver for King County Metro Transit since 1999.
At an afternoon news conference, Constantine called the shooting of the driver an “isolated incident” that could have happened anywhere, noting assaults on Metro drivers have declined in recent years.
Duckworth was identified by a Harborview spokeswoman as the dead man.
Pugel said police found a piece of paper on the man with that name, but had not been able to fingerprint him in order to confirm his identity while he was being treated at Harborview.
After Dupuis was shot, two uniformed police officers, working off-duty jobs, were on Third Avenue as terrified passengers began streaming off the Route 27 bus. One officer chased the gunman while the second stayed with the driver, Pugel said. Other officers joined the chase, including Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz, who was in the area when the call came, according to Pugel.
During the pursuit, the gunman turned and pointed his weapon at the officers, though it’s unclear if he actually fired at them, Pugel said. Witnesses reported hearing a “clicking sound” from his gun, the chief said.
The gunman ran west on University Street, then south on Second Avenue. Along the way, he tried unsuccessfully to carjack a service truck and then a passenger vehicle before he boarded a Route 120 Metro bus on the southwest corner of Seneca Street and Second Avenue, Pugel said.
The gunman may have attempted to commandeer the bus, he added.
Jason Sykes, an attorney who works in the 1201 Third Avenue building at Third and Seneca, witnessed the pursuit and the chaotic scene as the gunman boarded the second Metro bus.
“He’s got something in his hand. And I look up at the bus, and all I can see is everyone in the bus in sheer panic. People are just running and pushing toward the back and literally spilling out of the windows.”
The driver of the second bus attempted to disable his coach, but “somehow the door came open,” said Pugel. As the gunman got on, the driver and several passengers were able to get off through the rear door. But there were still passengers on the bus when four officers opened fire after seeing the gunman raise his weapon, Pugel said.
They fired again when the man raised his gun a second time, he said.
Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said officers had to make a difficult decision when they fired at the bus.
“I believe they made the right choice,” McDonagh said, describing the situation as “dangerous and dynamic.”
Duckworth was placed on state Department of Corrections community supervision after a drug-case conviction in King County in October 2011 and completed the supervision April 15, said Chad Lewis, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.
Court records show Duckworth has a long history of drug abuse and mental-health issues.
Since October, he has been booked into the King County Jail three times for violating his community supervision stemming from his July 2011 arrest for facilitating a $20 crack-cocaine deal between an undercover Seattle police officer and a drug dealer in the Chinatown International District, jail and court records show.
In March, he was shot in the face by an unknown assailant near the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, KIRO-TV reported. Eyewitnesses told KIRO that Duckworth fled shirtless and bloody and tried to get onto a Metro bus.
Duckworth, who had a 10th-grade education and is listed as homeless in a number of court documents, was receiving housing services from Plymouth Housing Group, as well as mental-health services — including group therapy, one-on-one therapy and medication — from Sound Mental Health, according to a September 2011 letter included in his court record.
“Mr. Duckworth has shown ability and willingness to engage with provider services in the past. Substance use relapse has been the major barrier to consistency in doing so,” notes the letter, which is signed by a Plymouth Housing Group case manager and a Sound Mental Health clinician.
Duckworth was arrested in March 2007 for throwing a rock through the window of a Pioneer Square nightclub and stabbing an employee with a plastic shank. In July 2007, he was arrested for possessing crack cocaine in the park next to the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle.
He was given credit for the 76 days he spent in jail for the rock-throwing incident and ordered to pay $328.55 restitution for the broken window, court records show. He pleaded guilty to the drug charge and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, according to the records.
Though he was only supposed to serve 12 months on community supervision, he repeatedly violated conditions of his release and wasn’t removed from supervision on the 2007 charges until October 2010, the records show.
Duckworth’s community corrections officer noted that Duckworth was “a chronic violator” of his community supervision “and failed to make himself available for supervision on numerous occasions.” Violations included using drugs, failing to get a mental-health evaluation and refusing to participate in mental-health treatment, the records show.
As a result, “Mr. Duckworth had failed to address both his chemical dependency and mental health issues throughout his time on supervision,” the officer wrote, noting that Duckworth had recently enrolled in a program offered by Sound Mental Health.
On his Facebook page, Duckworth described himself as a self-employed barber.
In December 2007, Duckworth filed a civil-rights claim in U.S. District Court alleging that he was assaulted by two King County correctional officers after being booked into the King County Jail. Duckworth represented himself and was allowed to file his claim as an indigent without standard filing fees, according to records.
In a scrawled complaint, Duckworth alleged he was taunted by two correctional officers for moving slowing while being taken from a holding cell. Duckworth said he was homeless and that his feet were sore from having to walk constantly.
According to Duckworth’s version of events, he and the guards exchanged words and he claimed he was beaten by two officers. The complaint, however, was dismissed in May 2008 because Duckworth had disappeared and had not told the court how to contact him.
During Monday’s incident, a 32-year-old officer, who was among those who fired, suffered minor injuries, possibly from broken glass, police said. A second officer, who is in his 50s, was also taken to Harborview for treatment for an undisclosed medical condition, police said. Both officers were treated and released Monday.
The four officers who opened fire have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is routine after an officer-involved shooting.
A female passenger got minor bruises while evacuating the second bus, police said.
Witnesses recounted a wild scene, with one saying she had gotten on the first bus just before the shooting and saw the gunman yelling in the driver’s face.
Jeff Harris, 50, of Seattle, who works at a business at Third and University, said he was putting money in a parking meter when he heard five gunshots. Harris said he then saw a bearded man running on University and thought the man was going to steal his car. Harris said he ran as the man tried without success to get into other cars parked on the street.
Police were chasing the man and repeatedly ordering him to drop a gun, Harris said.
Sykes, another witness, said police officers converged on the scene, some taking cover behind their vehicles and drawing their guns.
“One guy’s aiming a shotgun and he’s ready to fire,” Sykes said. “And then more police were coming, running around the corner, and they’re like, ‘Get down, get down.’ Even before I got down, it’s ‘pop, pop, pop.’ They’re firing. I’m literally at their feet when they’re shooting.”
Dupuis, the wounded bus driver, was described as a “gentle giant” by Ruth Kesic, who lived across the street from Dupuis when he lived in Burien. He has since moved to Puyallup.
“He’s a tall guy, but I never saw him mad,” Kesic said. “He is just really laid-back.”
She found out about the shooting when reporters showed up at Dupuis’ former house. “I got chills when I heard about it,” she said.
The last time a Metro bus driver was shot on duty was Nov. 27, 1998, when passenger Silas Cool killed Metro bus driver Mark McLaughlin, 44, then fatally shot himself, causing the bus to go over the side of the Aurora Bridge. One passenger died and 32 others were injured.
Seattle Times staff reporters Jack Broom, Brian M. Rosenthal, Paige Cornwell, Lewis Kamb, Lynn Thompson and Mike Carter, and news researcher Gene Balk and news assistant Jeff Albertson contributed to this story.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @stevemiletich