The 33-year-old man who allegedly threatened to kill passengers on a Greyhound bus while leading police on an overnight, two-state chase was previously deported from the United States.
The chase started in Wisconsin and finally came to an end in northern Illinois. The suspect, Margarito Vargas-Rosas, reportedly told passengers he had a gun and would kill people, Wisconsin Sheriff Christopher Schmaling informed reporters, according to CBS 2.
Police forced the bus to a halt by using spike strips to flatten the tires. Police quickly apprehended Vargas-Rosas, and none of the 40 passengers on board were injured. No gun was recovered at the scene. The police were alerted to the situation by a 911 call from one of the passengers.
Vargas-Rosas is an undocumented immigrant who had been deported in 2012 and works at a restaurant in Milwaukee. He commutes between Milwaukee and Chicago and was on his way back to Chicago when he apparently got into an argument with other passengers, according to Schmaling.
Vargas-Rosas, who is being held without bond, is likely to be charged with making terroristic threats, which is a felony, and disorderly conduct.
Passenger Patrick Dodd told reporters that the suspect threatened to kill passengers, saying he’d put bullets in their heads.
Dodd said the incident happened when the man said he had a gun and began to threaten passengers in the back of the bus. Dodd told the Chicago Tribune that Vargas-Rosas pulled something out of his pants that he thought might have been a weapon.
The Greyhound bus continued into Illinois because, Schmaling said, the driver didn’t know there was a problem brewing on his bus. Police thought it might be a hijacking, since the driver did not stop, so officers deployed the spike strips.
After the bus finally was brought to a halt, police investigating the scene did not find a weapon.
“Before I know it, there’s like 20 police cars in front of us and on the side of the road,” passenger Chris Walker told CBS 2.
Why the bus driver didn’t stop even when police were in pursuit with lights on confused some passengers, including Terrance Williams of New Jersey, who was seated in the middle of the bus and didn’t know anything was going on in the back of the bus.
However, he noted the police cars and wondered why the driver wasn’t pulling over.
“The law is, you see emergency lights you pull over,” Williams said. “[The police] were in front of us, they were in back of us.”
Schmaling said the bus driver’s reasoning for not stopping was that he thought the police cars were following another vehicle.