RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A gunman shot a Virginia state trooper Thursday at a busy bus terminal in the capital city of Richmond before he was shot dead by two other troopers, police said. Two civilians were hurt, though it was not clear if they had been shot.
The trooper’s injuries were life-threatening, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller. The two civilians were expected to survive. Initially, State Police had said in a news release that two troopers were taken to a hospital, but Geller later told reporters that only one had been hurt.
Broadcast images showed numerous police cars and heavily armed officers at the scene.
Leigha Schilling, who was between stops on her bus trip from New York to South Carolina, told The Associated Press that she was smoking a cigarette outside the station Thursday when she heard banging. She went back inside briefly and saw people lying on the ground and what appeared to be blood on the floor. A security guard ordered her to get on the floor and she ran back outside, where she heard several shots, she said.
“I was terrified,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
Charles Leazott works in the marketing department at Electrical Equipment Company, across the street from the bus station. “I glanced out my office window and saw, no exaggeration, what looked to me to be every police officer in the city of Richmond,” he told the AP.
Leazott said emergency teams “ran in with stretchers and, in what seemed like an amazingly short period of time, they were coming back out with people on the stretchers.”
Vincent Smith was working at the U-Haul Moving and Storage facility next door to the Greyhound station when he heard sirens and saw police cars buzzing by.
“The police units just poured in like a river,” Smith said. He said he saw police officers carrying shields and assault weapons. An officer came by and ordered him and his co-workers to stay inside and lock the doors until they’re told it was safe again. By late afternoon, he said he had been locked inside for about an hour and a half.
City Councilwoman Reva Trammell called it “the saddest day in the city of Richmond.”
“State troopers doing their job and innocent people shot,” she said. “Why? This was a senseless act.”
About 50 officers from the Richmond Police Department went to the bus station to assist state police, Chief Alfred Durham said.
He said law enforcement officers have become the target of “folks out there with evil intentions.”
“It’s unfortunate these are the days we’re living in, where folks want to harm law enforcement,” Durham said. “We just want our officers to end their shifts and to go home to their families.”
The Greyhound Bus Station is located west of the city’s downtown area, across from Richmond’s minor league baseball stadium and within a former industrial area. It is located on a main thoroughfare connecting a residential district to the stadium and nearby restaurants.
Greyhound issued a statement saying that the Richmond, Virginia, station was “closed until further notice.”