WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Reginald Dunlap never wanted to be a hero. He just wanted to drive a Metro bus.
The 65-year-old Hyattsville resident had found a second career after many years as an engineer in the federal government.
However, like most new recruits, Reggie Dunlap was assigned to "one of those dangerous routes" east of the river where young people--especially those with guns and knives rule. One veteran driver who goes by the name "Popeye" told me that old men and women try to take the buses early to get home before the young people get on and start making trouble for everybody, including the driver. They often refuse to pay the fare.
Metro's bus operators say they have been cursed out, spit on, beaten and shot at--They want protection, from Transit police and DC police. The drivers want the armed cop presence on the bus. Not merely in the neighborhood.
Reggie Dunlap made at stop Sunday evening along Minnesota avenue in southeast. 20 year old Selina Brown got on the B2 bus with her 23 month old daughter. She left her boyfriend, the father of her child 27 year old Javon Foster at the curb where they had been arguing. Reggie Dunlap sensed something was wrong between them. His senses had no way of preparing him from Foster's next move--pulling a semi automatic then firing repeatedly into the city bus, killing Brown and wounding her daughter.
Dunlap was also hit in the leg as he pulled the door shut, and moved his crowded bus away from the hail of gunfire.
Many passengers lives were saved that night. Police say he's a hero, but I'm thinking after meeting and talking to him that Reggie Dunlap will probably never operate another Metro bus as he'll need a lot of therapy and time to recover from the ordeal.
This is a continuing tragedy because lots more men and women bus operators are still working those dangerous routes and they are now more afraid than ever-- especially at night and weekends ... Metro should be able to fix this situation, don't you think?