MATA passenger shot by stray bullet fired blocks away

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A MATA bus became part of crime scene Friday afternoon.  A male passenger started screaming during what was supposed to have been a normal stop.

"Bullet came through side of the bus," recalled a fellow passenger.  "Said he got shot," he added.

The fellow passenger identified himself only as "Mike" and told Action News 5 he was sitting just a few rows away when the victim began bleeding from the side of his body.

"I got nervous," said Mike.  "Kind of felt sick," he added.

He said he didn't know if another bullet was coming.

Police believe a stray bullet struck the bus and the passenger.  They believe it was fired from a high-powered weapon during a drive-by shooting more than two blocks away.

"The weapon could shoot further than that," said Memphis Police Department Lt. Col. J.M. Willis.

Police said the intended victim was shot at least once while standing outside the JJ Market.  That is where we counted at least a dozen spent rounds on the ground.

"That appears to be the society we live in," said prominent Memphis attorney Coleman Garrett.  "Especially in Memphis now," he added.

Garrett happened to stop for lunch at a popular neighborhood restaurant just feet from where bullets flew.

"I was in line waiting to get served and then heard this barrage of gunshots from across the street," recalled Garrett.  "And everybody hit the floor and scattered," he added.

He is surprised more innocent bystanders were not hurt given the caliber of weapon used and the number of people in the area at the time.

Both victims were transported to The MED in critical condition.  Police are looking for up to two suspects last seen in a black Chevy Monte Carlo.

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