Transit Bus Shot Up, Killing Two During Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale

A gunman fatally shot two people and left two others hospitalized after opening fire inside a public transit bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday, authorities said.

The bus came to a stop in the parking lot of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department (FLPD), causing a car crash that injured another three people who were treated on the scene. They were not involved in the shooting, according to police.

The shooting took place as the coastal city, a popular spring break destination, prepares for a particularly large influx of visitors as COVID-19 restrictions relax. The police department said on Twitter at the time that the situation was under control and they "do not believe there to be any further threat to the public."

One shooting victim was pronounced dead at the scene and a second died at the hospital, police said. Two more victims remain hospitalized at Broward Health Medical Center, one in critical condition. The driver, who remains unnamed, was not hurt in the incident, local news station WSVN-TV reported, citing officials.

After hearing the gunshots, the driver steered the bus into a turn lane and "barreled through" the car, which was blocking the entrance to the police station parking lot, FLPD Acting Chief Luis Alvarez said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. The injuries to the passengers in the car were minor, he said.

Alvarez praised the bus driver at the news conference for her quick thinking during the emergency. "To get to the front of the police station, have that presence of mind, pretty much saved lives," he said.

"I can tell you that the bus driver in this particular case, her quick actions, I am sure, saved lives," Alvarez continued, "so kudos to her. She deserves to be applauded for her actions."

Fort Lauderdale Aerial View
Police said two were killed and two more injured after a shooter opened fire on a bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 17, 2022. Above, an aerial view of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. felixmizioznikov/Getty Images

Police on Friday identified the shooting suspect as Jamal J. Meyers, 35. Meyers has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, according to police. The motive is still being investigated.

Law enforcement also identified the deceased victims as Gregory L. Campbell Jr., a resident of nearby Lauderdale Lakes; and Danny Colon, a resident of nearby Tamarac. Identities of the surviving victims and witnesses have not been released.

At 3:25 p.m., Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Daniel Hughes observed the bus proceeding westbound in the eastbound lane of traffic on West Broward Boulevard, striking two automobiles, according to a police affidavit. Hughes reported that the bus drove into the parking lot of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and came to a stop.

Hughes heard gunshots and observed Meyers quickly exit the bus, the affidavit states. The officer then pointed his service weapon at Meyers and ordered him to lay on the ground before he was taken into custody.

According to a police affidavit, video surveillance shows Meyers withdraw a semi-automatic handgun from his right front pocket and fire 12 rounds at the victims seated in the rear of the bus. Meyers, according to the affidavit, reloaded the handgun and fired an additional nine rounds at the victims.

Police located the firearm on the bus, and booked Meyers at the Broward County Sheriff's Main Jail. Meyers has previously been convicted of fleeing law enforcement, grand theft auto, burglary of an unoccupied structure.

Police officers were placed at every intersection between the station and the hospital to allow transport of the wounded. Bridges were also lowered in the area to assist with the transport.

Fort Lauderdale officials said earlier this month they were expecting a particularly large number of visitors after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We absolutely expect at least double if not triple what we saw last year as far as attendance," Fort Lauderdale Police Major Bill Schultz told local NBC 6 South Florida earlier this month. Police said they would be emphasizing safety as visitors flocked to the city.

Update (3/18, 5 p.m.): This story has been updated to include additional information from police..