NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police say two innocent bystanders were shot by a stray bullet while riding an MTA bus in Queens on Thursday morning.
The incident happened at around 9 a.m. on a Q8 bus on Jamaica Avenue near 148th Street, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.READ MORE: 5 Hurt, Dozens Displaced After Passaic Fire
Jose Gonzalez of Manhattan was on the bus headed to a doctor’s appointment in Jamaica when he came just inches away from potentially losing his life. The 66-year-old said he was standing near the driver of the bus, which was stopped on Jamaica and 148th, when a bullet pierced the windshield, grazed his left arm and hit another passenger behind him.
“The guy come this way and pop, pop, pop!” witness Monserrate Lopez said.
Police said two men were involved in an altercation in the street. Surveillance video shows the gunman in a red baseball cap walking toward a man he was arguing with at the intersection of Jamaica and 148th. The gunman turns at the corner and, seconds later, is seen firing multiple rounds.
The man he was trying to hit is seen ducking between two city buses.
“It appears that it was just an exchange of stares that didn’t go well and it escalated into a violent confrontation using a firearm,” NYPD Deputy Chief Jerry O’Sullivan said.
The shooting terrified all of the Q8 bus passengers.
“I only listen — the people, gun and all the other people cries,” witness Marcis Nina said.
As the gunman took off, passengers ran into one woman’s clothing store. One worker said they feared for their lives.READ MORE: NYC Mourning NYPD Officers Wilbert Mora, Jason Rivera After Deadly Ambush In Harlem
“We know the bus operator took some heroic actions by coming out of the bus and flagging down police,” New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said.
A parking attendant who asked that CBS2 not show his face said the suspect ran right past him.
“When I look up, police was here and they had him handcuffed,” he said.
“An off-duty police officer who was going to work, along with responding patrol officers, observe him leaving after the shooting. They recovered the gun and he’s under arrest right now,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
Melvin Adams, 43, was charged with attempted murder, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon. He maintained his innocence while walking out of the 103rd Precinct in handcuffs on Thursday evening, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.
Police said they recovered a loaded semiautomatic firearm, as well as a loaded magazine from the suspect’s backpack.
“We really skirted the worst case scenario here,” Cipriano said.
A passenger advocacy group is asking the city to install bulletproof windows around bus drivers, so they are not hit by stray bullets.
Both shooting victims, including a 20-year-old man, were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.MORE NEWS: Bald Eagle Spotted At Central Park Reservoir
CBS2’s Ali Bauman contributed to this report.