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Gunman hijacks Greyhound bus on I-85

Posted February 3, 2011
Updated February 4, 2011

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— A gunman hijacked a Greyhound bus headed to Raleigh Thursday night, but all the passengers and driver managed to escape unharmed, authorities and witnesses said.

State troopers identified the suspect as Jose Flores, 32.

Vance County Sheriff Peter White said that a passenger from Arlington, Va., walked up to the front of bus no. 6516 along Interstate 85 South in Warren County. He asked the driver to be let off, then became irate and pulled out a gun, passengers said.

The man claimed he had a bomb and said, "If I don't get you with the gun, I will get you with the bag," White said. He ordered passengers to get off the bus, but most stood frozen.

"We were too scared. We didn't know if he was going to shoot us in the back of the head for getting off the bus," passenger Xavier Little said. "He just kept yelling, 'Y'all got a problem? Y'all got a problem? Y'all going to do something? I got nine shots, and I'll start killing right from the front.'"

Robert Fusco said the hijacker then pointed the gun at him and three other passengers in the front. "He talked about shooting us an example," Fusco said.

The driver pulled over on the side of I-85, near exit 223 to Manson-Drewery Road, and all but two of the 35 passengers on board got out through the rear emergency exit of the bus, White said. The hijacker then ordered the bus driver to keep going.

A passing driver realized what was going on, called 911 and followed the bus until state troopers could catch up, White said.

Authorities were waiting when the driver pulled off onto U.S. Highway 1 Business in Henderson and stopped at a Sunoco gas station on Norlina Road. Officers with drawn guns surrounded the bus, nearby residents said.

The driver and remaining two passengers managed to get off the bus, and authorities used a stun gun on the suspect before taking him into custody, White said.

Troopers said that they arrested Flores and handed him over to the custody of the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

Hijacked Greyhound bus passenger, Robert Fusco Passengers recall bus hijacking

Some nearby residents voluntarily left their homes due to the bomb threat. A search turned up no explosives on the bus.

The passengers were taken to a fire station in Vance County, and then a Greyhound bus took them to Raleigh.

Authorities have not commented on a motive, and passengers said it wasn't clear what the man wanted.

"He was just irate, (didn't) make no sense," Little said. "Nobody understood what was the purpose. He kept saying, 'I want to go to the courthouse, the nearest courthouse.'"

Passengers said they were nervous to continue on their trips with Greyhound.

"I still got a long way to go, and these people expect me to get on another bus. Would you get on another bus after you had a gun stuck to your head?" Fusco said.

Fusco, who was traveling to visit family in Florida, called for increased security measures on buses.

"Something's got to be done. I could have been dead tonight," he said. "Anybody could walk up on here on a Greyhound bus and have a gun on them and without checking nobody. It might slow things down, but this ain't right."

Calls to Greyound Friday morning have not been returned.


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  • Sporty Kid Feb 4, 2011

    I wonder if the gun that the gunman carried was his own gun, registered in his name, or if it was stolen or otherwise obtained illegally. If there was only some kind of law against people obtaining guns illegally... hmmmm

  • floriduhschoolboy Feb 4, 2011

    etsick, I would rather take my chances than being a sheep at the mercy of a madman. I would like to know how many of those people on that bus wished they were strapped.

  • calynn Feb 4, 2011

    a few innocent bystander's shot/killed by these "law abiding citizens" carrying concealed weapons would do wonders for pro-gun movement. Let's let everyone carry!

    When you can find evidence of concealed carriers shooting innocent bystanders let us know.

  • The Deadhead Feb 4, 2011

    whocares- Maybe. Maybe not. I have read/heard that at the recent shooting event in Arizona, there was at least 1 (maybe more) person armed but that they did not pull out their gun a blazin' like rambo because there were too many people around. Someone out there may be able to cite the source.

  • etsisk Feb 4, 2011

    you've got the right to own a gun, but research has shown that folks with guns on them at the time of an assault were 4.5 times more likely to get shot than folks that were not armed. AND if they had an opportunity to resist, that number goes up to around 5.6 times more likely to get shot. Action movie heroes notwithstanding, having the gun ain't likely to actually help anyone be the hero they envision themselves to be when they get strapped in the morning before they go out.

  • FromClayton Feb 4, 2011

    get this crazy off the streets for good. else he will kill people next time. i dont want a slap on the wrist for this crazy. i want him put away for at least a deacade!

  • GulfWarVet Feb 4, 2011

    I don't trust ANYONE, whether an LEO or private citizen riding public transportation to have the skill necessary to utilize a firearm in a manner that would be 100% safe to others.

    It is much the same as having a dangerous tree. You don't have a problem until there are targets around the tree that could be damaged/harmed.

    Putting people (whether LEOs or citizens) on a bus with guns is about as safe as putting a 2yr old in the driver's seat on the open freeway.

    ol' whacky-jack might only have 9 rounds, but the peanut gallery would return fire with a hail of collateral damaging bullets and ricochets. Brilliance.

  • Snakebite Survivor Feb 4, 2011

    I suppose this will now cause the TSA to install those x-ray machines at bus stations to screen the passengers. Sigh...

  • tommys5 Feb 4, 2011

    "Sounds like the bus lines need to have federal marshalls on them as well as planes."whocares

    Most of the people on the bus were riding because of price and would not pay the added cost .I am assuming you have not heard... This Country is Broke!

  • ckblackm Feb 4, 2011

    a few innocent bystander's shot/killed by these "law abiding citizens" carrying concealed weapons would do wonders for pro-gun movement. Let's let everyone carry!