NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An off-duty 911 operator was not in a position to call emergency dispatchers herself Tuesday when an armed man had her in sight on a Staten Island bus – but she was able to text for help.
At 1:15 p.m., police communications technician Coryse Hercules, 28, saw another passenger’s eyes widen on the Metropolitan Transit Authority S40 bus, as she saw an 18-year-old man seated across from her take a handgun out of his pants and move it to his backpack, police said.
Hercules, who was seated two seats away from the teen on the same side of the bus, also heard the woman across from her whisper to her boyfriend, “He’s got a gun.” The teen then announced, “Calm down. It’s not serious. I carry it for protection.”
Hercules was not convinced that the teen was not dangerous. But she decided picking up her iPhone and calling her co-workers at the dispatch center could mean the teen might get angry and fire the gun, putting her and the other 20 to 30 people on the bus in danger.
So Hercules discreetly texted a friend — police communications technician Stephanie Williams, 24 — who was home at the time. Williams called 911, and passed on exactly the information that Hercules relayed, police said.
Moments later, police pulled over the bus and got on. The teen quickly moved away from his backpack, and police initially directed their attention to a man who was left sitting next to it.
But Hercules soon pointed out the teen who had brought the gun – Raysean Alson of Staten Island. He was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
It turned out he actually had been two guns. One was a defaced and loaded Bryco Jennings 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, the other a Smith & Wesson revolver with five rounds and spent shell casing, police said.
The suspect already had a record for forcible touching, fare beating, and marijuana possession, police said.
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