Violence Continues on Las Vegas RTC Buses, Drivers Demand Police Presence

Posted on: May 5, 2023, 06:39h. 

Last updated on: May 6, 2023, 11:20h.

Another brutal attack occurred on a Las Vegas RTC bus this week. On Wednesday, a passenger was shot by another rider while onboard. This incident marks another violent incident in a series of recent violence. Workers continue to call for a transit police force to be present on city buses.

An RTC bus
An RTC bus, pictured above. RTC drivers want to see improved security on buses after violent incidents. (Image: KSNV)

In the latest incident, a passenger boarded a public bus at Eastern Avenue and Poppy Lane and then shot another passenger. The victim was rushed to University Medical Center.

The shooter remains on the loose.

On the same day, a man was stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife at a bus stop on North Las Vegas Boulevard. The suspect, William Smith, 55, surrendered to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), Las Vegas TV station, KLAS reported.

He faces charges of attempted murder and battery with the use of a deadly weapon.

Drivers Speak Out

RTC drivers are now speaking out about safety on city buses. Their union said on Thursday there were 13 violent incidents on RTC buses in the past two weeks, Las Vegas TV station KTNV reported.

We get spit on, we get thrown urine,” driver Leo Henderson told KLAS this week. “All we want is for our drivers to be treated with dignity.”

The conditions on buses led Henderson to run for a seat in the Nevada state senate, where he could work on relevant legislation.

RTC bus drivers held two rallies last month to highlight the safety issue. Drivers rallied before the Clark County Government Center’s Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s April 13 board meeting. A second rally was held on April 23 at the Bonneville Transit Center.

Call for Police

Several workers have urged for the installment of a transit police force during both rallies.

“There’s no consequences. That’s why we need transit police,” RTC driver Dennis Hennessey said at the April 13 rally.

Passengers are more violent now than in the past, Terry Richards, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1637, which represents the RTC drivers, told Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The RTC issued recent statements saying that passenger and driver safety is a priority, noting recent expenditures to improve safety. Security guards ride on many RTC buses, too.

But Sandra Adams, the union’s vice president, who has been a bus driver for 12 years, contends the private guards are inadequate.

The RTC board will likely discuss the issue again at a scheduled May 18 meeting. reached out to a spokesperson for Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman for comments on the issue. No immediate statement was released.

Prior Violence

There have been several other violent incidences on or around Las Vegas bus stops.

  • On April 24, Xavier Whatley, 40, was waiting to board a bus at Las Vegas’s Bonneville Transit Center when he allegedly stabbed a bus supervisor, George Duke, with a 10-inch knife. Whatley was charged with attempted murder.
  • On March 20, Allyn McFarland, 29, allegedly bit an LVMPD officer on the ear and struck other officers near a bus stop on March 20. McFarland was charged with mayhem, battery with substantial bodily harm, mistreating a police animal, and seven counts of battery on a protected person.
  • On February 16, Aaron Cole, 59, holding a knife, threatened a fellow bus passenger, Abraham Guerrero. Cole was charged with assault with the use of a deadly weapon and two counts of carrying a concealed weapon.
  • On February 26, Cole also allegedly stabbed passenger Dominique Lucas, 30, some 33 times. Lucas died from extensive wounds. Cole was charged with murder in connection with that incident.