Update: Murder at midtown bus stop
21-year-old Eric Jones had a long criminal record.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Nine On Your Side is finding out more about the murder at a midtown bus stop. 21-year-old Eric Jones shot a man, who was waiting for the next bus to take him to his job.
KGUN9 has learned that the shooter had recently been released from jail after being arrested for another vicious attack.
Monday afternoon, 41-year-old Robert Chance stepped off a Sun Tran bus and waited at the bus stop to get to his job. Tucson Police Department PIO Sgt. Chris Widmer told KGUN9 that 21-year-old Eric Jones was also a passenger and got off the bus right behind him. Police said video surveillance shows that they did not speak to each other on the bus -- or off the bus.
Jones sat on one bench, while the victim sat on the other. And then, police said, Jones stood up, pulled out a handgun and shot chance in the head in broad daylight.
"They don't know each other," Widmer said. "This was completely unprovoked."
And police say this isn't the first time Jones viciously attacked someone. He was arrested one week before -- accused of cutting a man's throat, downtown.
"Again someone he didn't know -- an unprovoked incident," Widmer said.
Jones spent six days in jail, but the Pima County Attorney's Office dismissed the charge, putting him back out on the street.
9 On Your Side wanted to know why.
KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos spoke with Pima County Attorney Rick Unclesbay, "One would think, good grief, why was this guy out on the street?"
"On the surface, it looks like that," he said. "The victim disappeared. He hadn't given a statement about what actually occurred. So both the police department and our office were in the dark about whether or not a crime had been committed and who committed it."
Unclesbay said Jones claimed it was self-defense. Police say detectives searched for the victim to get a statement, but without clear evidence to hold Jones, Unclesbay said, he was back on the street.
"It was a random act of violence, which is probably the most scary thing that somebody could witness or be involved in," Unclesbay said. "Overall, I think we have a very safe city and when you see something like this happen. It makes people worried."
Frequent bus rider, Colbert Willis said, "This is my fiancee and I'm getting nervous about her getting on the bus now. I have to watch everyone around her when i get on the bus with her."
Police said they arrested Jones that night after he was caught speeding in a stolen vehicle. They found a handgun and linked it to the murder. So now Jones is behind bars -- arrested for first degree murder. Jones has a history of domestic violence, criminal damage, trespassing, disorderly conduct, narcotics. And in 2011, he served time for assaulting several police officers.
Sgt. Widmer told KGUN9 that there isn't a rash of violence in this area and the shooting was a random act, so police don't see a need to beef up patrols or security. But Widmer advises bus riders to stay alert and watch what's going on around them.