Man who pulled out gun on bus in metro Atlanta identified
Gwinnett County police say the suspect was having a behavioral health crisis
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A suspected gunman who was on a Greyhound bus on I-85 northbound in Gwinnett County has been taken into custody, police tell CBS46 News.
Authorities say they used a flashbang to get the gunman, identified as 23-year-old Jaylin Backman, of Conyers, off the bus. Police were called to the scene of the incident on Interstate 85 NB at Indian Trail Lilburn Road in Gwinnett County around 9:23 a.m.
For 45 minutes, Matthew Lazalee and 30 other passengers on the Greyhound bus bound for New York huddled in fear, uncertain what an armed man also onboard might do next.
“I was shaking really bad,” said Lazalee. “We were telling him everything he wanted to hear.”
Lazalee was one stop away from his destination in Gainesville when he says they picked up a man who quickly became agitated with another passenger.
“She did something that offended him for some reason. I think it was putting on hand sanitizer,” he recalled.
Lazalee, who was sitting a few rows back from Backman, says he pulled out what appeared to be a handgun with an extended clip and cocked it.
“The bus driver pulled over and said what’s going on and then he saw the gun and the bus driver locked us all in the bus,” he said.
Scared for their lives, the passengers eventually decided to get out through the windows and roof exit.
“We just said, ‘Hey man, we have to make a move’ because he was thinking too much, and we didn’t know if that was going to mean something bad for us,” Lazalee said.
Greyhound has posted on its website: “no weapons are allowed anywhere on the bus.” But unlike our nation’s airports, the company doesn’t have metal detectors at all of its bus depots.
The company issued the following statement in response to inquiry about the incident in Gwinnett County:
Greyhound is still in the process of working with local authorities to gather the details regarding what occurred on schedule 1076.
Passenger safety and security are top priorities at Greyhound. The company’s security program is a standard in the industry and is continually being evaluated for implementation of best practices that are compatible with the practical operation of the business. This unfortunate and unforeseeable event will be thoroughly reviewed as part of that ongoing evaluation process.
Gwinnett County police say Backman was having a behavioral health crisis and there is no indication he held any of the passengers against their will. No on was injured.
Gwinnett Police Detectives have charged Backman with one count of aggravated assault.
Both the northbound and southbound lanes of the interstate were closed for several hours.
WATCH ORIGINAL STORY BELOW
WATCH LIVESTREAM BELOW
Copyright 2022 WGCL. All rights reserved.