The Aurora Bridge Bus Shooting

On November 27, 1998, Metro bus driver Mark McLaughlin and 34 passengers were cruising south down Aurora Avenue on an express route to downtown Seattle. They were coming from the Aurora Village shopping complex at N. 200th Street.
Looking South on Aurora Bridge
As Mark approached the Aurora Bridge, (aka Suicide Bridge) which crosses the Lake Union Ship Canal between the Fremont neighborhood and the north slope of Queen Anne hill, his accordion bus was reaching 50 miles per hour. It was mid afternoon on the day after Thanksgiving. For reasons still unknown to this day, 43 year-old Silas Cool, (He wasn't) a New Jersey native, approached Mark and pulled out a .380 handgun.
Point of impact and damage
He shot him in the abdomen and then shot himself in the head. The bus crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic, hit a van, and plunged 50 feet off the east side of the bridge. It fell onto an apartment building on 36th Street, kitty corner from the world famous Fremont Troll.
905 36th Street
(I walked past that building every day when I worked in Fremont and had no idea it was the building hit) It’s believed that once 44 year-old Mark lost control, he intentionally swerved the bus hard left, to avoid falling 167 feet into Lake Union. Had the bus fallen off the bridge not even 100 more yards south, everyone would have died. Only one other passenger was killed, 69 year-old Herman Liebelt. All of the 32 other passengers were injured, some permanently disabled. One of them lost an arm and a leg. Another, who was only 43, now lives in a group home and requires a caregiver.
The Fremont Troll
It was later learned that Un-Cool had been a petty thief, a Peeping Tom, part-time vagrant who ate at local missions, and an unemployed emotional wreck who wore sunglasses at night. (Corey Hart would be appalled) He lived in a run-down apartment which his parents in Jersey paid for and he slept on an air mattress. Just weeks before the shooting, he showed a handgun to a passenger on another bus and said he was getting a second gun to deal with the "mean people" who ride and drive buses.
Memorial procession down 4th Ave.
On December 8th, bus service was halted for four hours. A memorial service began with a procession of 80 buses and other Metro vehicles through downtown Seattle to Key Arena. They came from all over western Washington. A Metro wrecker led the way with a black wreath on the front. It was a very emotional sight. Those processions make me bawl every time. Fellow Metro drivers had cleaned, repaired and decorated Mark’s bus and it was taken to Key Arena.
Memorial plaque on bridge
His picture and jacket were placed on the driver's seat and purple ribbons were placed on 32 of the passenger seats. A black ribbon was placed on a seat for Norman Liebelt. Nothing was done for Un-Cool. The ceremony ended with a dispatcher's unanswered radio call for driver 2106. There is a memorial plaque on the bridge for Mark and the other passengers.
Mark McLaughlin
In late 2010 Lifetime interviewed a few of the survivors for a documentary called The Day That Changed My Life. RIP Mark and Herman.