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RTD bus operator shares safety concerns following deadly weekend shooting

Two men were injured in the shooting. One of them died, police say.
RTD bus shooting.jpg
Posted at 4:46 PM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-29 19:26:37-05

DENVER — Police are investigating a deadly shooting that happened on an RTD bus at Federal and Mississippi Saturday night.

Denver police investigators said two men were shot, one of the victims died. On Monday, authorities said they were still working to develop suspect information.

“Unfortunately, I'm not surprised. I mean, we've had shootings on buses in the past and, and I'm really not surprised that that occurred,” said Ronald Short.

Short has been a bus operator for 24 years and enjoys his job.

“It’s been a great opportunity to be out there in the community and be a part of the community,” said Short.

But he said the things drivers have to put up with have changed drastically during that time.

“It could be a gambit of things,” said Short. “People just get on the bus unhinged. You don't know where they're coming from or what they dealt with. And then that operator's just more or less in front of them is a target.”

Short, who's also a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1001, where he serves as recording secretary, said he has witnessed a lot of things during his time as a bus operator, including violent physical assaults.

“I think safety needs to be drastically increased,” said Short.

RTD operates in eight counties and partners with local law enforcement agencies like Denver Police.

But it also has its own police force.

Last year, RTD police chief Joel Fitzgerald announced plans to triple the number of officers on the police force from 22 to 70, with the goal of reaching 140 by 2025.

RTD released data this past fall showing crime throughout its system had fallen for much of the year.

But this weekend’s shooting shows there’s more work to do to keep bus operators and their riders safe.

“I feel like RTD needs to step up to the plate,” said Short.

Denver Police say the second victim from this weekend's shooting suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information should call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP(7867) or submit an anonymous tip online.

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