‘It’s real sad’: Police identify man shot, killed on GRTC bus in Richmond

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 12:33 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:44 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Police are investigating a deadly shooting on a city bus overnight.

Officers responded around 11:03 p.m. to Southside Plaza in the 4000 block of Hull Street Road for reports of a shooting. When they arrived at the scene, they found 22-year-old Jonathan Contreras, of Richmond, with a gunshot wound on the bus. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

A GRTC spokeswoman and some riders called what unfolded Tuesday night traumatic. Some who use public transportation said vast changes need to happen in the city of Richmond.

“It’s unfortunate that people wake up and are unhappy with the world like that,” said GRTC rider Robert Jefferson. “It’s real sad.”

Many GRTC riders were aware of that traumatic situation from Tuesday night. A spokeswoman said two passengers on board were involved in some kind of argument that quickly escalated.

The bus driver was forced to react to what was unfolding just feet away.

“They were so quick thinking and so responsive to what was happening on the bus before it escalated to shooting, that they were able to ensure that they were safe and any other passenger on the vehicle at that time was able to get off the bus,” said GRTC spokeswoman Carrie Rose Pace.

That driver pulled over on Hull Street, just past the Belt Boulevard intersection. Shortly after, shots were fired.

“These incidents are extremely rare,” Pace said. “We, to recent GRTC records, have not had an incident like this between two passengers where there was a fatality because of their confrontation.”

However, the situation has understandably left some uncomfortable.

“When I got on the bus from downtown this morning, I kind of looked at my riders and was like, ‘is anyone holding a gun?’ It freaks me out,” said Kimberly Harris.

“It’s kind of sad the way our young community is acting,” Harris said. “A lot of us just want to go to work and come home.”

That goes for the bus driver as well. The GRTC placed that person on paid leave to recover from the trauma of the shooting, offering resources to other employees who may need them.

“We have that available; it’s 24/7 on-call free support for any of our employees who might be feeling something in response to what happened last night,” Pace said. “Everyone responds to trauma differently.”

Richmond Police said Wednesday afternoon this was not a random incident.

GRTC also released the following statement:

The GRTC Family is grieving for the terrible violence and loss of a life that occurred on a GRTC bus. We extend our sincere condolences to the friends and loved ones of our bus passenger who died because of their injuries. We are also deeply concerned for the bus Operator and other passengers on board who witnessed this violence and are ensuring they both receive support. GRTC’s bus Operator is off duty on paid leave and was thankfully uninjured during the incident. Their quick-thinking, situational awareness, and active shooter safety training ensured GRTC Radio Supervision was notified of the escalating conflict before gunfire occurred, which enabled the fastest emergency response possible by police and EMS. This was a horrific experience and GRTC has professional counselors available for any staff seeking help.”

No one else on the bus was injured or threatened, and the investigation is still ongoing.

Security footage, including audio and video inside and outside the bus, was retrieved for investigators.

Anyone with information should call Major Crimes Detective P. Ripley at (804) 646-0423 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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