LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man accused of stabbing two teenagers on a TARC bus has an extensive history of violence, including use of a minor in a sexual performance. But so far police, TARC, the Union and even the driver herself said she would have had no way to know that a man she had apparently never met would attack two teenagers.
Raushanah Daniel said she is almost certain why her 14-year-old nephew, Me'Quale Offutt, and a 13-year-old girl were stabbed on a TARC bus minutes after boarding it about 12:30 Sunday morning.
"They knew each other," Daniel said. "And the gentleman started with her and that he was defending her."
The "gentleman" is 44-year-old Anthony Rene' Allen, who found his bond raised substantially Monday after a judge conceded he'd not reviewed his record. Among Allen's prior convictions was the use of a minor in a sexual performance, for which he was sentenced to seven years in prison in 1997.
Daniel believes the stabbings could have been prevented.
"We're not for certain, the shadow of a doubt," she said. "But from the information that we gathered this driver actually put him off her bus earlier."
"There's no indication that he was forcibly removed or had been kicked off the bus," Louisville Metro Homicide Det. Mike Lauder said Monday afternoon.
Det. Lauder confirmed reports Allen had ridden the same TARC bus two to three hours earlier. But the driver reported no problems. The attack occurred after the driver had stopped the bus to notify authorities of a verbal skirmish between Allen and Offutt, according to investigators.
"We'll review the bus video, but we don't want to reveal any of those details at this point," Det. Lauder said. "It's still an ongoing investigation."
"They (drivers) are not peace officers," said Jonathan Dooley, president of the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents TARC drivers. "This is not their line of work. They're just coming to earn a living for their family, and then they have to react to things like this."
Kentucky laws offer drivers little support to protect themselves or passengers from attacks or threats, he added.
"We've tried for nine years to get lawmakers to make these incidents felonies," Dooley said. "But rural Reps., they don't see the danger. Or they say it'll cost too much to arrest all these people."
"We can tell people they can't ride if we see a weapon, or if they're carrying a can of gasoline, but that's about it," Dooley continued. "Our job is to take the citizens of this community, move them from place to place, on time and safe."
TARC is conducting its own investigation into the incident and into the driver's conduct, executive director Barry Barker said.
"It would be hard for drivers to communicate with each other, about who might be a problem rider," Barker said. "We'll review our procedures once we heard from LMPD." Barker did not identify the driver, except to say that she'd been with the Transit Authority fewer than six months.
"She was doing what they told her and trained her to do," Daniel said. "But hey need to revisit their policies and procedures. They need to retrain their employees."
Me'Quale Offutt remains in a medically-induced coma at the University of Louisville Hospital, following several hours' surgery Sunday to repair damage to his heart.
"We won't know whether he's suffered brain damage until they bring him out of it," Daniel said.
"We're claiming victory because we're a Christian family, and we know that God has the answer, so we just want for him to get well and to have a peaceful rest."
Sunday, July 27 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:15:51 GMT
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725 S. Floyd Street
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