NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a harrowing moment aboard a bus in Brooklyn Friday, when a panhandler asking for cash pulled a gun and started firing – in broad daylight.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, the incident happened just before 10 a.m. Friday aboard a B12 bus on New York Avenue in East New York. There were about 15 passengers onboard at the time.
A panhandler who witnesses said had been hassling passengers got into a quarrel with one. And it turned out the panhandler had a gun.
“The arguing was because nobody wants to give the guy who was shooting any money,” said Carlina Nichols, who was on the bus at the time.
But the passengers did not even know the man was armed until he displayed a weapon.
“He just pulled out a gun, and the guy ran towards him just to hold him; to hold the gun,” Nichols said. “And when he held the gun, the man fires just all kinds of gunfire. It just went all over.”
Nichols could not believe what was unfolding.
“I was in shock, like anybody would be in shock, like, I was in a lot of shock. Everything was just crazy,” she said. “I tried to get off the bus because a bullet went past my face.”
Nichols said the bus stopped, the doors opened, and everyone started falling out onto the street — including the gunman and 31-year-old Jowanza Maloney, who was shot in the hand.
“They still were wrestling and tussling until the cops came,” Nichols said.
The tussling was going on, and the suspect was being held — right outside the 73rd Precinct NYPD Stationhouse.
A nearby restaurant worker said other bystanders also held the gunman.
“Four or five guys… catch him and hold him down” for police, said witness Jahid Bhuiyan.
Following the shooting, community activist Tony Herbert told 1010 WINS there has to be better laws to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
“The current legislative laws that we have in place, apparently are not working because folks are still shooting off guns. And they’re happening in Brownsville more often than not, and that’s sill a problem,” Herbert said. “What I do have criticism of, is legislation that’s not in place to make sure that these individuals that are committing these crimes understand the detriment of what they’re doing.”
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the incident was a new wrinkle on an old problem.
“I’m very familiar with the panhandling on the subway trains,” he said. “In all the years, this is the first time I’ve heard about panhandling on a bus.”
The suspect — Sean McTerell, 47 — was arrested by an off-duty police officer coming out of the station house. Charges include attempted murder.
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