Bus driver targeted
Two face charges in pellet-gun case
By CHRIS KITCHING, SUN MEDIA
Two men from rural Manitoba are facing charges after one allegedly used a soft air pellet gun to shoot a Winnipeg Transit driver and fire at dogs, pedestrians and street signs.
Winnipeg police said the passenger of a vehicle fired a plastic pellet through an open window at the front of the bus, hitting the driver in the upper body.
He was not injured, but police spokeswoman Const. Jacqueline Chaput said the incident could have had a more serious outcome.
"Had the bus driver been struck in the eye or the face it could have affected his driving and possibly resulted in serious injuries to passengers, motorists or pedestrians," she said. "I am not aware of the reason these individuals chose to behave in this fashion."
Some air guns are identical to firearms that shoot actual bullets, meaning the guns can be mistaken for the real thing, Chaput said.
Police said the bus driver was shot about 10 p.m. Thursday on southbound Pembina Highway near Stafford Street.
City spokesman Terry Aseltine said about a dozen passengers were on board the bus at the time, but none was hurt.
There are about 20 incidents of assault against Winnipeg bus drivers each year. Security cameras will be installed in all city buses within two years, Aseltine said.
Police said the men continued southbound on Pembina and allegedly fired at people, dogs and other objects.
It is not known if any were struck because cops have not received additional reports.
Anyone who may have been a victim is asked to call police at 986-2877.
Division 16 officers apprehended the suspects south of St. Norbert with the help of RCMP.
The alleged shooter, an 18-year-old man from Morris, is facing charges of assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. A 20-year-old man from Lowe Farm is facing charges of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
The men cannot be identified because they have not been formally charged. They were released on a promise to appear in court.
Soft air guns are widely available and can be purchased for $25 to $200.