Man Hijacks Public Bus, Starts High Speed Chase

( – A bus hijacking in Atlanta, Georgia, led to a police chase and a tragic end, as one person was fatally shot. The violence began on Tuesday afternoon when police received a call about gunfire on a Gwinnett County Transit bus and a possible hostage situation. The hijacker held the bus driver at gunpoint while there were 17 people on board, including the driver.

As the police arrived on the scene, the bus sped away, prompting a high-speed pursuit. During the chase, the police received a 911 call from a family member of someone on the bus, who reported receiving text messages about the hijacking and hostages. The police also received another 911 call made from the bus, which provided crucial information to help end the hostage situation.

The pursuit continued through multiple jurisdictions, with the police employing various tactics to stop the bus. Eventually, a SWAT vehicle disabled the bus in Stone Mountain, about 16 miles from where the incident started. DeKalb County SWAT officers strategically positioned their vehicle to prevent any escape routes, and the suspect, Joseph Grier, was taken into custody without further incident.

While clearing the bus, the SWAT officers found a gunshot victim, Earnest Byrd Jr., who was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Unfortunately, he later passed away. Grier is accused of knowingly and intentionally shooting the victim, causing his death. He has been charged with murder, 14 counts of aggravated assault, 14 counts of kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle, and other firearm-related offenses.

The police are still investigating when the shooting occurred, but the bus hijacking happened after another separate incident in which gunfire broke out at a food court in a downtown Atlanta shopping center. Three people were injured, and an off-duty police officer shot the armed suspect. The suspect in the bus hijacking boarded the bus near the shopping center but was not involved in that shooting. Both suspects have criminal records.

Mayor Andre Dickens condemned the violence, attributing it to too many people having guns. He expressed gratitude to the police for minimizing the danger and preventing further harm. The tragic events of that day have left the community shaken and have sparked a renewed conversation about gun violence and its impact on public safety.