Man arrested in brutal attack of TriMet bus driver

Man arrested in brutal attack of TriMet bus driver
Daemon Lamarr Bowman booking photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. - A police officer spotted a man Friday night that fit the description of the person who attacked a TriMet bus driver over a fare dispute and arrested him.

Daemon Lamarr Bowman, 39, was caught about 6:30 p.m. by a Transit Police Division officer who was patrolling in the area near North Fessenden Street and Charleston Avenue, according to Portland police.

Bowman was arrested as he walked to a store, police say. He is accused of attacking a bus driver Thursday night just before 11 next to the Safeway in St. Johns.

With a still image of the suspect taken from the bus' surveillance system in hand, police say their officers were actively searching the neighborhood for the suspect.

The 911 call the bus driver made Thursday night was frantic.

“He hit me on the head about 13 times,” she tells the 911 dispatcher. “He (expletive deleted) … My left hand hurts. I don’t know, I can’t see left hand hurts. I don’t know. I can’t see myself. I don’t know what I look like.” myself. I don’t know what I look like.”

That driver went on to tell the dispatcher that the rider went after her because she refused to give him a transfer. He hadn't paid enough bus fare.

Her attacker took off.

Bowman will be charged with third-degree assault, theft of services and interfering with public transportation, according to police.

The agency says there have been 11 other assaults this year on its employees through October, but that number doesn't include every time a driver is spat on.

“I know she's struggling emotionally right now. I know she suffered some facial abrasions and some swelling, some bruising along with some broken glasses,” said Bruce Hansen of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. “It's a traumatic situation for her and her family right now.”

Bowman got on the bus at North Kelly and St. Louis.

TriMet is offered a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

A TriMet spokesperson shared assault figures with KATU News Friday evening. These are assault figures against all TriMet employees, not just operators, for all of 2011 and 2012, and January through October 2013. The spokesperson says the data was compiled by a Portland Police Bureau analyst and provided to the Transit Police Division and to TriMet.

From TriMet:

Aggravated assaults are those that involve a weapon; simple assaults do not involve a weapon. Several media have asked about incidents in which an operator is spit upon. Those incidents may be categorized as either harassment or a simple assault as there is not one set determination. The classification was determined by the police analyst using the full details of the particular incident.

Incident Code Description 2011 2012 2013
Assault - Aggravated - Employee 1 2 2
Assault - Simple - Employee 11 16 9
Harassment - Employee 25 19 13
Menacing - Employee 1 0 5
Total 38 37 29