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Bus driver hailed as hero after ‘random, senseless’ Seattle shooting

SEATTLE -- A bus driver is being called a hero after officials say he moved passengers to safety after being shot Wednesday in North Seattle.

The driver, identified by officials as 53-year-old Eric Stark, was shot while driving a route 75 bus Wednesday afternoon.

Undated courtesy photo of Eric Stark (Photo: Cait Stark)

Police say a gunman opened fire on the southbound bus after shooting a 56-year-old woman who was also driving in the area of in the area of Sand Point Way NE and Bartlett Avenue.  She and Stark were both hospitalized and were in satisfactory condition as of Wednesday evening.

Authorities say Stark was able to move the bus to a safe location after being shot.  In a press conference Wednesday evening, city officials hailed his actions as heroic.

"He saved lives," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said.

King County Executive Dow Constantine says Stark hit his emergency alert button after being shot, which prompted police to respond to the area.

"We are tremendously grateful that his injuries were not more serious," he said. "He acted heroically and put the well-being of his passengers above all else."

Officials say the suspect fatally shot a man who was driving another vehicle after opening fire on the bus. Another man died in a car crash involving the suspect, who was hospitalized in stable condition after being taken into custody.

"I really trust the bus drivers here they’re always really friendly and really supportive and it doesn’t surprise me that he did what he did to take care of his passengers," said shooting victim Deborah Judd.

Judd, a local elementary school teacher, said she "came around the corner and this guy walked straight out in the middle of the road and he just shot me, and he shot me again."

She said she laid completely still and waited for the gunshots to stop.

Seattle Deputy Police Chief Marc Garth Green called the shootings a "random, senseless act," adding,  "We're outraged at what this suspect did."

Seattle Police are still investigating the possible motive of the shooter.

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