RideKC bus driver hailed as hero after suspect shoots her and officer

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City officer and a RideKC bus driver are recovering after being shot while trying to stop a robbery suspect, who was also shot.

It happened about 10:30 a.m. Thursday near Independence and Hardesty Avenues.

Thankfully, both the officer and bus driver are expected to be OK. Police said the officer was released from the hospital Thursday afternoon. 

The suspect is in critical condition. Missouri Highway Patrol is hailing the bus driver a hero.

The bus stop just before Independence & Hardesty in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast was surrounded by crime tape after a robbery turned into a triple shooting.

Missouri Highway Patrol says the Ride KC driver witnessed the robbery, and then the suspect boarded the bus.

“As she was transporting occupants of the bus, she notified the Kansas City Police Department of what she’d observed,” said Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe.

The driver, thinking on her toes, took critical steps to keep everyone on board safe.

“She was under a tremendous amount of pressure, and for her to think quickly to not only notify KCPD, but also decide to drive a little slower than normal to make sure officers were able to arrive on scene–that was extremely heroic on her part,” Lowe said.

A KCPD officer was able to climb onto the bus from the back entrance. But that move caught the suspect’s attention. The suspect pulled a gun, firing and hitting the officer.

“The suspect then turned towards the driver, shot the driver. As the suspect left the bus, he was engaged in gunfire with other KCPD officers that arrived on scene,” Lowe said.

Officers shot the suspect, leaving him critically injured.

Frances Oquendo heard the gunfire from her kitchen window.

“It was like bang, bang, bang, and it gave me the willies,” she said.

Frances says she and her husband haven’t lived in the neighborhood long, but have heard gunshots way too often.

“There’s nowhere to go. You want to duck and hide,” Oquendo said.

She’s thankful this time, the bus driver and police officer are going to recover. But she prays her neighbors will find ways to work out their issues and put the guns down.

“You shouldn’t shoot people. It’s not getting you nowhere,” she said.

The officer shot is an 18-year veteran of KCPD. He, the bus driver, and suspect haven’t been named. yet as Missouri Highway Patrol continues to investigate.

In a statement, Ride KC said: “Every day our courageous operators are on the front lines, committed to the citizens of the Kansas City region. All of the Ride KC family is praying for a full recovery of our operator and our officer, and thanks to KCPD for their quick response.”

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