Cycle of violence: Downtown bus shooter had been shot himself

Seattle police describe the series of events that led to the city's first bus driver shooting in 15 years.
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Seattle police describe the series of events that led to the city's first bus driver shooting in 15 years.

The troubled life of Martin Duckworth, 31, ended Monday after he shot a Metro bus driver in the morning, ran from police, and was shot at least twice seven minutes later by officers in a  second bus.

Duckworth died late Monday afternoon at Harborview Medical Center, police said.

His victim, Deloy Dupuis, 64, a 14-year Metro veteran, is in satisfactory condition at Harborview after being shot in the torso and cheek. "He wasn't merely awake ... but in good spirits and joking .. and asked almost immediately about his passengers," said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who visited Dupuis in the hospital.

Duckworth was a shooting victim earlier this year. A March 21st KIRO-TV report said Duckworth was shot in the face by an unknown person at about 6 a.m. that day. Several gunshots were heard in the area of Third Avenue and South Washington Street. A screaming Duckworth ran shirtless and bloody, trying to get into passing cars and a Metro bus, KIRO reported on March 21. "He was scared. You could tell he thought he was going to die," a witness told KIRO at that time. Duckworth was treated at Harborview. He apparently could not tell police who shot him or what happened, KIRO reported at the time.

Seattle police said he has several drug convictions, and was wanted for not reporting to his community corrections officer.

Detectives and crime scene investigators are still sorting out what exactly happened during the two shootings that took place on Monday, said Seattle Acting Police Chief Jim Pugel. "There is still a lot we do not know," he said.

On Monday, the first shooting occurred at 8:48 a.m. when a southbound Metro bus stopped on Third Avenue near Union Street. Three people entered the bus through the rear door instead of the front door where the fare box is. The driver told the three — who were apparently not together — to reenter through the front door, and two did so.

The third man — Duckworth — began pacing in the middle of the bus and then moved to the front to face the driver. He assaulted the driver, and then shot the man twice with a revolver — once in the torso and once in a cheek, Pugel said. The reason for the shooting is still under investigation.

The man ran from the Route 27 bus while yelling. Two off-duty uniformed police sergeants were nearby. One sergeant attended to the driver and the other began chasing Duckworth with three other officers who had just arrived. Duckworth pointed his revolver several times at the officers chasing him. It was undetermined Monday whether he fired shots at them. Some reported hearing clicks apparently coming from the pistol.

Duckworth tried to get into a service truck and a car while being chased. Then he came to a second Metro bus climbing the hill on Seneca Street where it intersected Third Avenue. "Somehow, the door came open," Pugel said. Duckworth got on, and the driver and several of the roughly 15 passengers got off — two bruising themselves in the scramble.

Some people were still on the bus when the suspect raised his gun. Officers shot him at least once. He raised his gun again, Pugel said, and officers fired again, hitting him at least once more. Information was not available Monday on where the bullets hit Duckworth.

"Officers are taught to shoot only if there is a safe background [with no bystanders behind the target]," Pugel said. So far, the shooting appeared to follow proper procedures since a violent suspect had a gun raised, he said.

"The officers moved quickly and did their job," said Mayor Mike McGinn.

A 32-year-old officer received minor injuries, likely from broken glass,and was taken to Harborview. Another officer in his 50s was also taken there because of a medical condition, police said. Police are checking video cameras on the two buses and looking for cell phone videos.

As she drove her route Monday morning, Metro bus driver Linda Averill wondered why her radio talked about rerouting lots of buses. Maybe an hour later, a friend texted her why: A fellow Metro driver had been shot while on duty.

"Is it someone I know?" she fretted for the rest of the morning. "People were asking where Route 5 is, and I was grappling with someone I might know getting shot."

Averill said Metro buses are frequently used as shelters by the homeless and mentally ill.

Authorities described the shootings as an isolated occurrence. "Metro is safe. We carry 40,000 people a day without incident," Constantine said.

"This is something that rarely, rarely happens," said Dave Jutilla, chief of the King County Sheriff's Office's transit police department. He said drivers are pushed, spit upon, slapped or hit roughly seven to 10 times a month, with no or one incident a month reaching a felony level. A study will be conducted to determine Metro's most dangerous routes, Constantine said.

The biggest Metro-bus-related shooting took place on Nov. 27, 1998, according to the Associated Press. A bus driver was killed when he was shot while driving across the city's Aurora Bridge. Mark F. McLaughlin, 44, died after the bus smashed through a railing, bounced off an apartment building and crashed into the ground about 50 feet below. McLaughlin was shot by passenger Silas Cool, 43, who authorities said committed suicide. The 33 other passengers were hurt, with one dying the next day.

Standard procedure for bus drivers is to request passengers to pay their fares, but to use their judgement on whether to push the matter if a passenger refuses to pay. Metro drivers receive eight hours of training for dealing with such matters.

The idea of enclosing Metro drivers in tiny booths was studied, and rejected because of glare and the difficulty of seeing objects in rearview mirrors, said Paul Bachtel, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local no.587, which represents the Metro drivers.

Drivers are not allowed to carry weapons. And the union believes that drivers would increase the danger to themselves if they did carry weapons, with potential troublemakers being aware of it, Bachtel said.

Meanwhile, the Seatte police — which has been asked by the business community to put more officers downtown -- will add 30 new officers next year, although no specific areas have been identified yet to receive them, McGinn said.


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John Stang

John Stang

John Stang is a freelance writer who often covers state government and the environment. He can be reached on email at and on Twitter at @johnstang_8