(NationalUSNews.com) — 21-year-old Zhontay Capers has been arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of Bernard Gribbin, a bus driver who worked for 12 years for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). On Thursday, October 26, Capers allegedly got up from her seat and simply shot Gribbin. Then she got off the bus and shot him again. SEPTA Transit Police Chief Charles Lawson says that while the incident was caught on video, the footage does not show any “substantive interaction” between Capers and Gribbin. Gribbon was rushed to Einstein Medical Center but died from his injuries. Other people on the bus were not harmed.
After fleeing the scene, Capers was later taken in by police at a gas station in the area. The murder weapon has not been recovered yet. Although SEPTA and the local Transport Workers Union Local 234 are currently in negotiations to avoid a strike, there is no reason to believe the incident is related to that. However, one of the issues the TWU Local 234 has been concerned about is the safety of its members. They have been demanding better protections and more law enforcement to fight back against rising crime, antisocial behavior, and even assaults on SEPTA workers. The shooting of Gribbon may have highlighted their concerns, and the following day, a tentative agreement for a one-year contract was reached.
The Capers family released a statement suggesting that the recent death of her grandmother may have triggered a “mental health crisis” and condemned the mental health system they feel has failed her. They added that they’d noticed her distress and isolation, but her behavior was not severe enough to qualify for involuntary hospitalization. Gribbin’s family and co-workers met on Saturday, October 28 for a memorial balloon release ceremony.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, that the senseless murder of Gribbin was inexcusable and that the people of Philadelphia have a right to “feel safe on public transit,” but especially those who are out there working to “provide these essential services to our city.”
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