CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The suspect accused of shooting and injuring a CATS bus driver was banned from all CATS transportation after appearing in court Wednesday, courthouse records showed.
In addition, the bus driver involved in the shootout, David Fullard, was fired, according to CATS.
“As of today [Wednesday, May 24], it is our understanding that RATP Dev has concluded the termination process for Mr. Fullard,” a spokesperson wrote.
Omarri Shariff Tobias, 22, appeared virtually in front of a judge during Wednesday’s session; he was issued a $250,000 bond and was charged with the following:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Serious injury
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Communicating threats
Tobias’ next court date is June 6, 2023, and he was booked into the Mecklenburg County Detention Center Tuesday evening, May 23, according to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooting happened at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, May 18, near the 8500 block of Outlets Boulevard.
Charlotte Area Transit System said a CATS bus driver, an employee of RATP Dev, was operating Route 56 when the driver and a passenger, identified as Tobias, got into an argument.
Officials said Tobias pulled a firearm on the driver, and the driver also pulled out a firearm. Both individuals shot at each other, according to authorities. Once released from the hospital, Tobias was charged in connection to the incident, CMPD said.
“At some point as this altercation progressed, the operator pulled the bus over,” interim CEO Brent Kagle said. “[The operator] produced a firearm as well [as the passenger], and then they exchanged shots.”
CATS held a live press conference on the situation on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
That can be watched below:
Cagle elaborated on the entirety of the incident during the conference, explaining that a decision on charges against the CATS driver involved has not yet been made.
A video of the incident does exist; however, it requires clearance from TSA. Kagle said there is no timeline on when that video will become available.
Safety measures are implemented for operators to request assistance in the case of an emergency. Kagle elaborated on each:
- Radio (Primary method)
- The bus operator can communicate with operations control and request assistance if needed.
- Silent alarm (#1)
- Alerts bus operations control center, opening live audio feed between bus and buck.
- Silent alarm (#2)
- Banner designs on external portions of the bus flip reading: “CALL POLICE 911.”
Footage released to QCN by CATS Wednesday aimed to shed light on precautionary measures in the case of an emergency. The instance involved a stabbing on a City Lynx Gold Line on May 4:
CATS released the following statement regarding the shootout from May 18:
“CATS regrets this tragic accident.
All employees’ and riders’ safety and well-being are a top priority and concern.
CATS policy does not allow any employee to have a weapon on CATS property or while performing their job.”