AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Prosecutors have decided to drop criminal charges against an RTD passenger who stabbed another passenger on a bus in Aurora on Thursday night, ruling it was a case of self defense.
“The D.A. declined to file charges,” said Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson of the Thursday night incident. She said after police and prosecutors reviewed videotape from a camera on the bus, and witness statements, they decided the stabbing was justifiable self defense.
Police have not released the identities of anyone involved.
The entire incident, which happened at about 7:17 p.m., was videotaped by RTD passenger Dewayne Harris.
“Well I felt like something was going to happen that needed to be captured — I had that feeling,” Harris explained to CBS4.
The 44-year-old aspiring filmaker pulled out his camera on the ride home to Aurora on the No. 15 bus after he noticed an apparently inebriated passenger harassing the driver and other bus riders.
“The one guy was filled with alcohol. He was drunk and acting erratic,” said Harris.
When the bus stopped at Colfax and Moline in Aurora, one passenger attempted to eject the unruly rider from the bus. Harris’ videotape shows the apparently drunk passenger slugging the second man at least ten times.
But during the confrontation, the man who was being attacked can be seen stabbing his assailant in the mid-section several times. The stabbing victims staggers away from the bus, covered in blood.
Police initially arrested the man with the knife for second degree assault and held him overnight on $50,000 bond. But Carlson said after evidence was reviewed with the district attorney, the decision was made to let him go without charges.
Harris agrees with the decision.
“The guy was hitting him in the face and he was trying to act in self defense.”
Harris, who operates the website luv4livz.org, says what he witnessed Thursday night should be a lesson to young people on what happens when alcohol and violence intersect.
Harris has a felony record but says his life is now devoted to teaching young people how to stay on the right track and avoid trouble. He says what he taped is a prime example of how young people should not conduct themselves.
“When you use drugs and alcohol it will take your life in directions you don’t want to go. It’s a deadly combination. Drugs, alcohol and violence are combustible and the end result will always be prison or death,” said Harris.
He’s working on a book that he plans to publish on his website. It outlines his involvment with the criminal underworld and how young people can learn from his mistakes.
Harris says what he witnessed Thursday night is a distillation on videotape of the message he is trying to convey: that drugs, alcohol and violence are bad choices to make.
“The result is never good,” says Harris. “This is not the way to go.”