Kalamazoo bus passenger saw ‘guy pull out a gun, start shooting’

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — As the investigation continues into the Saturday morning shooting at Kalamazoo’s main bus station that injured three people, wary passengers got back on board and a driver’s union called for better protection.

Police say 54-year-old Anthony Oliver got a bus and started firing. Responding officers shot Oliver, killing him.

On Monday, two boarded up windows at the Kalamazoo Transit Center showed the people on the bus weren’t the only ones in danger. Shots took out the windows, the bullets lodging in an interior wall and a door.

Crystal Coy said she was waiting aboard a bus next to the one Oliver shot up.

“I see this guy pull out a gun and he started shooting,” she recalled.

Police at the Kalamazoo Transportation Center as they investigate following a shooting on Nov. 27, 2021.

She says the next few minutes seemed like the longest of her life.

“I seen the flashes from the gun and I dropped to the floor of the bus,” she said. “I was praying he wouldn’t get on our bus and start shooting.”

Unanswered questions remain: Why did Oliver do it? How did the convicted felon, whose record dates back to 1992 and includes embezzlement, armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon, get a gun? The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says all of that remains under investigation.

UNION CALLED FOR ARMED GUARDS

On Monday, officials with the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents drivers for Kalamazoo Metro Transit, called for armed security at the bus station.

“Security people were here but they’re not armed. They were actually chased by the gunman,” Javier Perez Jr., the union’s international executive vice president, said.

The union said cost is not the problem, with Perez saying it is instead a matter of human resources. The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, which had been providing security under contract, pulled out in the fall due to staffing shortages. Perez said KDPS is facing the same challenges.

“We’ve asked agencies to look at deputizing and hiring its own transit police. There’s a lot of complications involved with that. But this is a major transit center, a lot of people coming in and out of here, a lot of opportunity for violence. We want it to minimize it,” Perez said.

In the meantime, passengers loaded back onto buses Monday, many with the trauma of Saturday’s shooting lingering.

“I’m still processing what I seen, honestly,” Coy said.

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