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August 12, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Gunman who shot Metro bus driver in downtown Seattle dies

Seattle police gather evidence at Third Avenue and Union Street in downtown Seattle where a Metro bus driver was shot. Police later shot the gunman a block or so away. (Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Seattle police gather evidence at Third Avenue and Seneca Street in downtown Seattle where a Metro bus driver on the No. 27 route was shot. Police later shot the gunman a block or so away. (Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

The man suspected of shooting a Metro bus driver before being shot by police has died, Seattle police said this afternoon.

A law-enforcement source identified the gunman as Martin A. Duckworth, 31.

Police say Duckworth shot the Metro bus driver this morning in downtown Seattle during a confrontation. Duckworth was then shot by police after he boarded a second bus, Seattle police said.

The bus driver, 64, was shot around 8:45 a.m. while the Route 27 bus was at Third Avenue near University Street, but his injuries were not life-threatening, police said, and he has since been released from Harborview Medical Center.

Harborview confirmed the driver’s name is Deloy Dupuis.  King County Executive Dow Constantine, who visited Dupuis at Harborview this morning, said he was “remarkably upbeat” despite wounds to his face and arm. He has been a driver for Metro since 1999.

A law enforcement source identified Martin A. Duckworth, 31, as the shooter.

A law-enforcement source identified Martin A. Duckworth, 31, as the shooter. (Department of Corrections photo, March 2013)

Seattle police Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said two officers were near Third and University when they were contacted by people who had been on the bus in which the driver was shot. One officer assisted the wounded driver while the other chased the gunman south on Third, McDonagh said. The man ran west on University, firing at the officer, McDonagh said. Later in the day, Acting Police Chief Jim Pugel said the man pointed the gun but that only “clicks” might have come from the revolver he was carrying.

After running south on Second Avenue, the man boarded, along with other passengers, a bus stopped on Seneca Street at the intersection, police said.

Officers converged on the bus and opened fire on the suspect, McDonagh said. About a dozen bullet holes were visible on the front of the bus.

Four officers, including two who were off-duty, opened fire when the man raised his gun, then fired again when he raised the gun a second time, Pugel said.

Duckworth suffered what were said to be life-threatening wounds. He also was taken to Harborview, where he died this afternoon.

McDonagh said officers had to make a difficult decision when they fired at the bus, which held about 15 passengers.

“I believe they made the right choice,” McDonagh said, describing the situation as “dangerous and dynamic.” McDonagh called the shooting of the bus driver rare.

Pugel said the incident began when three people got on the first bus at the rear door.

When the driver asked them to pay at the front of the bus, two got off and came to the front to pay, Pugel said.

bus-shooting-c

But the third, identified as the gunman, stayed on the bus and paced back and forth before approaching the driver, Pugel said.

The suspect then “physically assaulted” the driver and shot him at least twice, Pugel said.

Duckworth was placed on state Department of Corrections community supervision after a drug-case conviction in King County in October 2011 and completed the supervision April 15,  Chad Lewis, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, said today.

On his Facebook page, Duckworth said he was a self-employed barber.

Police said a 32-year-old officer, who was among those who fired, suffered minor injuries in the incident, possibly from broken glass. A second officer, who is in his 50s, was also taken to Harborview for treatment for an undisclosed medical condition, police said.

A female passenger sustained minor bruising while evacuating the second bus, police said.

A witness who had gotten on the first bus just before the shooting said she saw the gunman yelling in the driver’s face. The gunman got off the bus, but then stepped back on and shot the driver five times, once in the jaw, the witness told Seattle Times photographer Steve Ringman.

The gunman then ran away, the witness said.

Jeff Harris, 50, of Seattle, who works at a business at Third and University Street, said he was putting money in a parking meter when he heard five gunshots. Harris said he then saw a bearded man running on University and thought the man was going to steal his car. Harris said he ran as the man tried without success to get into other cars parked on the street.

Police were chasing the man and repeatedly ordering him to drop a gun, Harris said.

The armed man then ran south on Second Avenue and got on a Metro bus near Seneca Street, Harris said. Police shot the man on the bus or as he was getting on the bus, Harris said.

Jason Sykes, an attorney who works in the 1201 Building at Third and Seneca, also said he saw police chase the gunman.

“He’s got something in his hand. And I look up at the bus, and all I can see is everyone in the bus in sheer panic. People are just running and pushing toward the back and literally spilling out of the windows.”

He said police officers converged on the scene, some taking cover behind their vehicles and drawing their guns, he said.

“One guy’s aiming a shotgun and he’s ready to fire,” Sykes said. “And then more police were coming, running around the corner, and they’re like, ‘Get down, get down.’ Even before I got down, it’s ‘pop, pop, pop.’ They’re firing. I’m literally at their feet when they’re shooting.”

Sykes said after a moment, he crawled into a nearby doorway and sprawled on the pavement, his back toward the violent scene unfolding behind.

Another witness, Mackenzie Harris, who was at Second and Seneca, said, “I came down when there were a lot of police cars. Tons and tons of them.”

Harris said he saw a person on a stretcher being treated and loaded onto an ambulance.

“They were doing chest compressions on him,” Harris said. “So he could have been alive. But I don’t know.”

The last time a Metro bus driver was shot on duty was Nov. 27, 1998, when passenger Silas Cool killed Metro bus driver Mark McLaughlin, 44, then fatally shot himself, causing the bus to go over the side of the Aurora Bridge. One passenger died and 32 others were injured.

Monday’s shooting comes amid complaints by downtown business leaders about an increase in violence and disorder, drug-dealing, public drunkenness and visibly mentally ill people on the streets intimidating visitors and local workers alike.

On July 31, more than 40 business and tourism officials wrote to Mayor Mike McGinn and called for “immediate new enforcement resources and strategies from the City.” They cited eight violent incidents over the past two months downtown, including several assaults in the area around Westlake Park, most of them during the day and early evening.

“The level of violence in Downtown is unacceptable. It demands immediate attention and action by the city,” the letter said.

Seattle Times staff reporters Brian M. Rosenthal, Jack Broom, Lewis Kamb, Sara Jean Green and Lynn Thompson contributed to this report.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: downtown Seattle, Metro bus driver, shooting

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