Police arrested an 18-year-old passenger on a Staten Island bus after an off-duty 911 operator noticed he had a gun with him and texted her friend to call authorities, officials said.
Police Communications Technician Coryse Hercules, 28, was on the S-40 bus in Richmond Terrace Tuesday afternoon when she heard a female passenger whisper to a person sitting next to her, "He's got a gun," and saw her look at an 18-year-old man with a backpack seated across the aisle.
Hercules told police the 18-year-old rider must have heard the whisper about the gun because she said he responded, "Calm down. It's not serious. I carry it for protection."
Hercules told authorities she at first wanted to call 911, but didn't want to draw attention by making a phone call and potentially endanger herself and the other two dozen passengers on the bus. So she started to discreetly text her friend Stephanie Williams, another off-duty 911 operator she knew would be home and be able to see her text messages.
Williams did see the texts and called 911. She passed along the bits of information Hercules had texted her, including description of the 18-year-old rider's attire and belongings.
A short time after Williams called authorities, police bulled over the bus and boarded. The 18-year-old rider who had been spotted with the weapon tried to switch seats to confuse police, who had been heading for the backpack that had been described to them, but Hercules pointed him out.
Police arrested the 18-year-old man, who was identified as Raysean Alson, of Staten Island. A loaded pistol and revolver that had been reported stolen from Delaware were found in his backpack.
Alson was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, among other crimes. Police say he has three prior arrests, including for forcible touching, farebeating and marijuana possession. The investigation is ongoing.