GRT hostage questions why attacker was allowed on bus
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 6:55PM EST
Two days after an alarming hostage situation on a Grand River Transit bus in east Kitchener, questions are coming to light about whether more could have been done to prevent the situation.
Saturday afternoon, Suzie Wiebe boarded a bus heading for the grocery store. While on the bus, the 25-year-old was approached and threatened by a 36-year-old male passenger.
Wiebe then sent a Facebook message to her husband, Gordon Chrysler, asking him to call police.
Officers arrived and spent nearly three hours negotiating with the captor, who was using Wiebe as a human shield while holed up in the stopped bus on Keewatin Avenue.
Police say the man’s demands included a visit to his son’s gravestone, heroin and painkillers, a cell phone and Big Macs from McDonald’s.
In the end, the man turned himself in to police and apologized to Wiebe. But Chrysler is questioning if the situation could have been avoided entirely.
“I am fairly angry with Grand River Transit,” Chrysler tells CTV.
Wiebe says the first sign the man might pose a problem came when he boarded the bus and made unusual comments to the bus driver.
“He stated ‘This is my last day to live and I am not paying,’” she says.
“The bus driver, I guess, didn’t catch what he said right away, so he said ‘Excuse me?’ and he repeated ‘This is my last day to live and I am not paying.’”
Hearing that story, Chrysler wonders why the man was allowed on the bus.
“Why wouldn’t you call [GRT] security at least and deal with this individual who’s not going to pay?” he says.
GRT director Eric Gillespie says video surveillance footage from the incident shows the man presenting what looks like a bus pass.
“He boarded the buss at the Fairview Park Mall with a number of passengers, and when he gets on the bus it appears that he is presenting something like a bus pass with his left hand to the operator,” he says.
Gillespie says he was told by the bus driver that it was unclear what the man was saying.
The man who held Wiebe hostage, who has not been named by police, is facing charges of hostage-taking, assault with a weapon and breach of probation.