ST. LOUIS - Police are still searching for a gunman that opened fire on passengers at a metro bus station in downtown St. Louis.
One man died and another was critically injured. Two witnesses spoke with 5 On Your Side about the traumatic incident.
“All of a sudden we heard the hell of bullet fire,” said Robin Clearmountain, a witness.
Clearmountain says she was sitting at the Union Metro Bus Stop Friday night around 9 p.m. When gunfire erupted she felt like a sitting duck.
“I braced myself for impact,” she said.
Clearmountain wondered if she was about to die.
“Were we being picked off because you don't know what kind of situation that is. if you have a mass killer we just didn't know,” she said.
In the end, a 31-year-old man was dead and a 27-year-old man was in critical condition, both shot multiple times.
Steve Deschler witnessed the shootings too. He says this particular bus stop is trouble.
Deschler: “I witness it every day, every night when I come down here.”
5 On Your Side: “You are witnessing what?
Deschler: “Illegal drug activity. Like I told my boss like an open air drug market and nothing ever gets done.”
Deschler and others say the Metro Bus drivers and security guards often seem apathetic to the plight of passengers.
“Civilian security officers, I don't see them doing much at all, I never have,” Clearmountain said.
“Just four or five security guards that stand at the top of the steps having a good all-time with young individuals that are doing what they're doing,” Deschler said.
Both also say more police in the area at night would prevent crime.
We contacted St. Louis City Police spokespeople Saturday and today about the claims that police presence is lacking at Union Metro Station and illegal drug activity is overt. They have not responded, except this afternoon when spokesperson Leah K. Freeman said they are looking into it.
We also contacted Bi-State Development, the entity in charge of Metro Bus and Metro Link safety. Director of Communications Patti Beck of Bi State Development sent the following statement which reads in part
“Metro Public Safety Officers had just completed a foot patrol in the area. However, Metro Public Safety Officers and contracted security guards do not have policing authority so we rely on our law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of passengers on and off the Metro transit system.” Beck went on to say “there is no policy or requirement for Metro operators to report crimes,” though they often report incidents to Metro Public Safety Dispatch.
We continue to investigate this matter and will report additional information as it becomes available.
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