DART driver feared for his safety before Monday bus attack

A Dallas DART driver who was caught in the middle of the July 7 police ambush was attacked Monday on a downtown DART bus, leaving him injured and unable to work for several days.

On the night of July 7, 2016, Don Washington, 33, was the last man to see the shooter before he opened fire on police outside El Centro College. Later that night, he volunteered to drive people out of downtown and played the role of peacemaker at the 7-Eleven in the West End.

Monday’s incident started mere blocks from that location. Washington was on the Route 36 bus, waiting until it was his turn to drive the bus. That’s when he says a man at the back of the bus started to curse him out and call him names.

Washington ignored it as long as he could.

“What made me take a defense mode is when he put his fishing gear down and started advancing [toward] me,” Washington said. “I felt threatened for my safety.”

He says the man threatened him and wouldn’t back down. He just kept on walking toward Washington. So he did what he felt he had to do.

“As he was walking towards me, I stepped back and I took a swing at him,” Washington said.

But that didn’t stop the attack. Another person jumped in and injured Washington in the process.

“I turned to see the people running toward me,” Washington said. “That’s when I got an umbrella to the left side of my neck.”

That injury has caused Washington to miss three days of work. He returns Friday, but will only take on light duties.

Kenneth Day, the president of the Amalgated Transit Union, stands by Washington, saying he was doing the right thing by defending himself. Such attacks, he suggests, are hardly rare.

“Operators are being attacked on almost a consistent basis,” Day said.

DART police arrived at the scene but did not make an arrest. It later issued an arrest warrant for one of the people involved in the incident.

The investigation into the attack is ongoing.

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