One Person Dies After Commuter Bus Hijacked In Atlanta

( – On June 10, 1994, the movie “Speed” starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock was released. The passengers experienced a reign of terror, fearing for their lives while the bus sped through the busy streets of Los Angeles. A similar situation played out in Atlanta, where a suspect recently hijacked a commuter bus and led authorities on a chase for more than 30 minutes.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11, 39-year-old Joseph Grier boarded a Gwinnett County Transit bus in Atlanta, Georgia. While onboard, he got into an argument with another passenger that escalated into a physical altercation. That person pulled out a gun, which Grier grabbed and then used to shoot the man he was arguing with. Grier then ordered the bus driver to flee the scene, holding him at gunpoint. There were 17 passengers onboard at the time.

The bus driver heeded Grier’s warning and drove, taking authorities on a chase through Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties. The driver struck several police vehicles and ended up with flat tires, but it still kept going.

Passengers on the bus at the time were frantically texting their loved ones during the ordeal. One called 911 and stayed on the line, allowing police to form a plan. Police were able to stop the bus when a Georgia State Trooper fired his rifle into its engine, causing it to malfunction. They took Grier into custody.

The man Grier shot, later identified as 58-year-old Earnest Byrd Jr., died at a local hospital. Grier has been charged with 14 counts each of aggravated assault and kidnapping, a single count each of hijacking a motor vehicle, possession of a knife or firearm during the commission of a certain felony, murder, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Grier has a long history as a convicted felon. He’s been arrested 19 times and is said to suffer from mental health issues, including Bipolar Disorder.

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