Seattle police using a search dog arrested two youths and recovered a handgun and a knife after a Metro Transit driver was threatened with a gun during a weekend incident in North Seattle, police said.
The incident occurred early Saturday, but a description wasn’t posted on the Police Department’s news website until Sunday.
Officers responded shortly after 12:30 a.m. to the 9900 block of Holman Road Northwest to a report that several individuals, one armed with a handgun, had threatened the bus driver.
The individuals reportedly got off the bus and fled south through the parking lot of a QFC grocery store, police said.
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Officers saw three possible assailants south of Holman Road, who fled into a residential area in the area of Northwest 97th Street and Seventh Avenue Northwest.
A containment area was set up and a police dog brought in to assist in the search.
Officers found one juvenile suspect and detained her, police said.
Minutes later, a second suspect matching the description of the person with the gun was found, although he was not in possession of a gun, police said.
A short time later, the dog found a third suspect about a block away, hiding under a parked car. He surrendered when he saw the dog approaching, police said.
The suspect was armed with a knife, and a handgun was lying on the ground next to him when he was taken into custody, according to police.
Police said they arrested and booked the two “primary suspects” into juvenile detention at the King County Youth Services Center for investigation of assault, threats to the bus driver and unlawful possession of a handgun.
A police spokesman could not provide further clarification Sunday on which two suspects were booked, although he said the youth with the knife and gun presumably was booked.
No motive or details were provided regarding the alleged threat.
Metro spokeswoman Rochelle Ogershok said Sunday that the driver of the D Line bus was not injured.
She said few if any passengers would have been on the bus at the time of the incident.
After a Metro bus driver was shot and wounded in downtown Seattle in August 2013, King County and Metro Transit described the shooting and subsequent boarding of another bus by the gunman as an anomaly in what they said is normally a secure transit system for drivers and passengers.
High-profile attacks on Metro drivers periodically make headlines — from a teenager’s beating of a driver in 2010 to the previous time a Metro operator was shot in 1998, causing a bus to plummet off the Aurora Bridge.
In the mid-2000s, reported assaults on bus operators were escalating, from 125 in 2003 to 189 in 2006.
But after that, the numbers decreased, according to figures released at the time of last year’s shooting. Reported assaults on Metro operators dropped to 147 in 2009. Over the next two years, they fell even more dramatically — to 86 incidents in 2010 and 84 in 2011.
Reported assaults climbed back to 107 in 2012 — but that was still far fewer than
four years before.
Figures for 2013 and so far this year were not immediately available.
In recent years, county and Metro officials have worked with the transit- operators union to implement safety-training programs and test safety equipment, among other actions.
King County and Metro authorities have said they’ve tried to focus on beefing up safety policies and policing tactics in recent years to help increase security.
All Metro operators undergo a safety-training course with police when moving into full-time positions. A refresher course also was planned for all drivers, whether full- or part-time, according to Metro.
Among other tactics, such training teaches drivers to defuse potentially hostile situations.
The overall goal is to limit the number of assaults on drivers to fewer than 10 per year, according to Metro.
Metro Transit police have stressed faster response times in recent years.
Metro also has added new camera systems near bus stops and at transit centers, launched programs to reward crime reporting and suspend bad-behaving passengers, and lobbied for tougher laws in Olympia.
As a result, under state law an assault against a bus driver — just like an attack on a police officer, firefighter or several other professions — is a felony that carries stiffer penalties.
Information from Seattle Time archives is included in this story.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @stevemiletich