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One dead and five wounded in shooting on Greyhound bus in California

The alleged killer was muttering incoherently in a seemingly random attack before passengers disarmed him, authorities and a witness said.

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Investigators are seen outside a Greyhound bus after a passenger was killed on board in Lebec, California (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/AP)

Investigators are seen outside a Greyhound bus after a passenger was killed on board in Lebec, California (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/AP)

Investigators are seen outside a Greyhound bus after a passenger was killed on board in Lebec, California (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/AP)

A man has killed one person and wounded five others after he allegedly opened fire aboard a packed Greyhound bus in California.

The man was cursing and muttering incoherently in a seemingly random attack before passengers disarmed him, authorities and a witness said.

The driver of the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco bus pulled off onto the hard shoulder, where some of those aboard led the alleged killer off the vehicle, and he was quickly taken into custody, California Highway Patrol officer Sgt Brian Pennings said.

The driver continued on to the next exit as passengers performed first aid on the wounded, he said.

I thought I was shot because I felt a rush of heat on the back of my head as I went downMark Grabban

Anthony Devonte Williams, 33, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, was arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, authorities said.

The motive for the shooting was not immediately known, and there was no indication the alleged gunman knew any of the victims, Mr Pennings said.

He said several ammunition magazines were discovered along with the gun.

The bus was travelling on Interstate 5 near the small mountain community of Lebec, about 70 miles north-west of Los Angeles, when the passenger allegedly started shooting with a semi-automatic handgun shortly before 1.30am local time (9.30am UK time).

Forty-three people were aboard, including 6- and 8-year-old children, who were not hurt.

The dead passenger was identified as a 51-year-old woman from Colombia.

Bus Shooting California
California Highway Patrol officer Sgt Brian Pennings talks to media at the scene after a gunman opened fire aboard a packed Greyhound bus (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/AP)

A 45-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were hospitalised in critical condition, a 39-year-old woman had major injuries, a 49-year-old man had moderate injuries and a 50-year-old woman had minor injuries, Mr Pennings said.

The remaining passengers were later driven to San Francisco on another bus.

Passenger Mark Grabban, 29, told the Associated Press that the alleged gunman had been sitting with his leg sticking out into the aisle, muttering to himself incoherently.

“He was just saying weird stuff like ‘you don’t know me like that,’ ‘wait ’til we get to the station,’ ‘get away from the dude in the striped shirt,’” Mr Grabban said in a series of Instagram messages.

Suddenly, the man allegedly started cursing and shooting, he said.

Mr Grabban hid beneath the seat in front of him. He said the alleged gunman seemed to fire eight or nine shots that “seemed to go on forever”.

(The driver's actions) were very appropriate and one could say heroic

He added: “I was waiting for one to hit me.

“I thought I was shot because I felt a rush of heat on the back of my head as I went down,” he said. “But I guess I just smashed my head on the seat as I went down to the floor.”

Then, silence fell. The injured passengers began moaning, and others started panicking.

It was dark outside and they could not see what the alleged gunman was doing after he got off the bus.

Mr Grabban said the driver asked over the loudspeaker if anyone had been hurt and did not immediately pull away.

“Everyone was screaming at him to drive off,” Mr Grabban said.

I looked to the woman on the left, and she wasn’t responding, wasn’t moving or anything

Mr Pennings said the driver’s actions “were very appropriate and one could say heroic”.

He also said the passengers who disarmed the man were heroic but gave no immediate details.

Passengers told Mr Grabban someone wrestled the gun away from the alleged shooter, but he did not witness it, he said.

Mr Grabban, who was sitting near the back of the bus with his girlfriend, picked up the gun’s empty magazine clip and handed it to the driver.

A casing ended up on Mr Grabban’s lap, and he noticed a bullet hole in the floor next to him.

“I saw the blood on the floor of the aisle,” he told NBC News. “I looked to the woman on the left, and she wasn’t responding, wasn’t moving or anything. She was lifeless.”

Authorities were looking into whether a video camera in the vehicle captured the attack, which happened when the bus was at the top of Tejon Pass.

Greyhound prohibits passengers from bringing guns, explosives or dangerous chemicals on board its buses or in their luggage, according to its website.

The company declined to answer additional questions about security on its buses.

PA