A man riding on an RTC bus, who was threatened by a knife-wielding fellow passenger, questioned this week a Las Vegas judge’s decision to release the suspect without setting any bail. The same suspect, days later, free to roam, allegedly murdered a different passenger on another RTC bus.
In the first incident, on February 16, the defendant, Aaron Cole, 59, threatened but didn’t stab the victim, Abraham Guerrero, while the two were on the bus, authorities said.
Ten days later, Cole allegedly slashed passenger Dominique Lucas, 30, some 33 times. Lucas died a short time later from his extensive wounds.
When he appeared in court on February 22 for the first incident, Las Vegas Judge Joseph Sciscento released Cole on his own recognizance rather than setting bail, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS.
Labeled as Low Risk
Prosecutors had asked the judge to set bail at $3K. Cole was also identified as being “low risk” based on an assessment system used by the Las Vegas criminal courts.
Just four days after the court appearance, Cole allegedly repeatedly stabbed Lucas after the two got into an argument on the bus.
Lucas, who took the bus to get to work, tried to flee off the vehicle, but the driver initially wouldn’t open the doors. It was later explained the bus wouldn’t be able to move if the doors were open and the driver was worried about passengers darting into traffic, KLAS reported.
The driver did press an emergency button and spoke with a dispatcher. The driver later stopped the bus near the intersection of Paradise and Desert Inn roads.
Lucas was able to crawl out of the bus. Wounded and bleeding, he reached a sidewalk. A passerby came to his aid.
Good Samaritan Intercedes
The earlier February 16 incident began when Cole shouted at a woman and her children on the bus.
Guerrero, a construction worker and house cleaner, came to their assistance.
He told Cole, “Look man, you need to calm down. You need to stop disrespecting her in front of her children, she hasn’t done anything to you,” KLAS reported.
Seeing the two men were arguing, the bus driver stopped the bus and spoke to them.
Afterward, Cole was arrested for assault with the use of a deadly weapon and two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, according to KLAS. Those charges are pending.
Guerrero realizes he too could have been stabbed,
“At the end of the day, it’s very sad that someone had to lose their life because of this, because of what happened,” Guerrero told KLAS this week about Lucas’s death.
“We definitely want answers,” Lucas’s sister further told KLAS following the incident. No word yet if the family is considering legal action against the bus company.
RTC released a statement following Cole’s arrest. It said in part, “Our passengers’ and drivers’ safety is our utmost priority.”
Cole was charged with murder for the second incident. Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty if Cole is convicted.
He remains in custody at the Clark County Detention Center. He pleaded not guilty in court, and he is being held without bail.
Nevada last executed a convict in 2006.
Cole Was Ex-Con
KLAS also reported that Cole served nearly 23 years in Texas prison for a fatal shooting in 1994. Initially, he was charged with second-degree murder. The charge was reduced to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
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