A 21-year-old Sacramento man allegedly opened fire on passengers of a Greyhound bus Wednesday evening in Northern California, killing a woman and injuring four other people, two of whom remain hospitalized in critical condition.
The incident, which Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey called a mass shooting, ended with law enforcement officers taking suspected shooter Asaahdi Elijah Coleman into custody at a nearby Walmart in Oroville, where he had gotten into a fight and then stripped naked, authorities said.
Police and sheriff’s deputies responded around 7:30 p.m. to multiple 911 calls reporting a shooting taking place inside a bus parked at the AM-PM store at Feather River and Oroville Dam boulevards in Oroville, Butte County Sheriff Kony Honea and Oroville Police Chief Bill LaGrone said in a livestreamed news conference Thursday morning.
A 43-year-old woman was killed in the shooting, Honea said, and four other passengers were transported to hospitals.
A 25-year-old pregnant woman remains in critical condition at a hospital, as is a 32-year-old man who underwent surgery, Honea said Thursday morning.
An 11-year-old girl is also hospitalized, listed in stable condition. A 38-year-old man suffered a minor injury and is expected to be released from the hospital soon.
The deceased victim’s identity has not been released, pending notification of family.
Based on preliminary investigation, authorities believe Coleman boarded the Los Angeles-bound bus near Redding and began to display erratic behavior as it traveled south.
“As the bus came into Chico, it appears as though Mr. Coleman made a telephone call that seemed to agitate him,” Honea said, and the suspect began “acting paranoid and agitated.”
An ensuing conversation on the bus “prompted Mr. Coleman to show other passengers a firearm” in a small bag he was carrying, the sheriff said. Honea described the firearm as a 9 mm handgun.
When the bus arrived at the AM-PM in Oroville, which is its normal stop, Coleman began “firing the weapon as people began exiting the bus,” the sheriff said.
Honea said it was not clear whether the alleged shooter was firing at specific passengers or indiscriminately.
“As to his intended targets, at this point I’m not going to speculate.”
The suspect fled the scene on foot, heading south, Honea said. The gun was later recovered by deputies in a construction area south of the AM-PM.
Coleman ended up at a Walmart store on Cal Oak Road in Oroville, about a half-mile south of the AM-PM, Honea said.
The suspect “walked into the store a ways, ultimately walked toward where the cash registers were (and) at some point became involved in a verbal altercation with a female,” according to Honea. Authorities received additional 911 calls from the Walmart.
Coleman then became engaged in a physical altercation with a male subject, the sheriff said. At that point, Coleman began to remove his clothing.
Police officers, deputies and other allied law enforcement agencies arrived at Walmart around 20 minutes after the bus shooting and took an unclothed Coleman into custody without further incident.
“He was exhibiting what would best be described as paranoid behavior,” Honea said.
Honea identified Coleman as a Sacramento resident but later described him as transient. According to public records, his last known address was within the Mirasol Village projects in the Dos Rios Triangle, which is in the process of being redeveloped.
Ramsey, the district attorney, said there were roughly 25 passengers on the bus, who had to be “corralled” from a “chaotic scene.” After giving witness interviews, uninjured passengers were given hotel rooms and were able to take buses to their intended destinations Thursday morning, he said.
According to Ramsey, Coleman had an active warrant out of Alameda County for probation violation at the time of Wednesday’s shooting, and was not legally allowed to possess a firearm.
Sacramento Superior Court records show prosecutors filed felony charges in July 2021 against Coleman for violating prohibition of firearm access. He had been released on bail and due for his next court appearance in March.
Ramsey said the exact charges that will be filed against Coleman in Wednesday’s shooting are not yet finalized. He is expected to appear in court on Friday.
The bus, bound for Los Angeles, was scheduled to arrive in Sacramento around 9 p.m., according to Greyhound schedules of the route. An online update of the bus for Schedule 1449, which runs the length of Interstate 5 along the West Coast, showed bus officials canceled service through Stockton before resuming service at 3 a.m.
Ramsey gave a brief presentation showing photos of the bus at the scene, with a bullet hole visible in its front windshield.
“Ultimately, this is a horrific tragedy,” Honea said.
© 2022 The Sacramento Bee Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC