LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The family of a man murdered on an RTC bus has retained an attorney as the 8 News Now Investigators have learned the suspected stabber was released from jail on a knife-related charge — without having to pay bail — just days earlier.
Aaron Cole, 59, is charged with murder in the death of Dominique Lucas, 30. Both men were riding the RTC bus on Sunday, Feb. 26, when they began to argue.
Lucas’ family has since retained Farhan Naqvi of Naqvi Injury Law.
“What started as a simple bus ride to work ended in the heart-wrenching loss of Dominique Lucas’ life on February 26,” Naqvi said in a statement Thursday. “His family is left devastated and searching for answers.”
The incident begins on video at 4:50 p.m. The bus stops and its doors open at 4:54 p.m. The driver exits the bus shortly before 4:55 p.m. No one is seen helping Lucas, who crawled out of the bus and onto the sidewalk. A passerby is seen applying a towel to Lucas’ chest at 4:57 p.m. Metro police officers arrived at 4:58 p.m.
“I wasn’t bothering you,” Lucas is heard saying on video the 8 News Now Investigators obtained Wednesday. Several seconds later, Cole lunges at Lucas and a physical altercation begins.
“Let me off,” Lucas says in the video as he runs toward the front of the bus. Cole is then seen on the video stabbing Lucas multiple times on the floor near the bus’s front entrance before Cole sits back down in his seat.
Video shows the bus’s front door opening during the attack and then closing as Cole continues to stab Lucas. For about 2 minutes, Lucas stumbles around the front area of the bus and it continues down Paradise Road. During this time, the bus driver activated a panic button and talked to a dispatcher.
Two minutes after the initial attack, the video shows Cole getting up and stabbing Lucas several more times. The bus, which was traveling on an alternate route due to that day’s marathon, was traveling in the left lane. It eventually stopped near the intersection of Paradise and Desert Inn roads.
The driver did not open the bus’s doors due to the risk of the victim or passengers running into traffic and because the bus would not be able to move if the doors were opened, a spokesperson for Keolis, which operates the bus for RTC, said Wednesday.
Ten days earlier, on Feb. 16, Metro police arrested Cole on a charge of assault with the use of a deadly weapon and two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, records showed. Cole was arrested for allegedly threatening a person on a bus with a knife, sources said.
Cole’s pre-trial risk assessment, a system the courts use to determine bail, deemed him “low risk,” documents the 8 News Now Investigators obtained said.
On Feb. 22, after the Feb. 16 incident, Judge Joseph Sciscento released Cole on his own recognizance, ordering Cole not to have contact with the victim. Cole’s public defender had argued for release on his own recognizance without setting bail, records showed. The court docket indicates prosecutors asked for $3,000 bail. The docket previously indicated Cole was released after paying bail.
In 1994, police arrested Cole on a charge of second-degree murder after he shot a man in a Salvation Army lobby, records said. The charge was reduced to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, records indicated.
“The circumstances of Dominique’s passing only add to the grief that his family is facing and the pain of living without him,” Naqvi said. “His parents appreciate peace and privacy as they mourn. May he rest in peace.”
A judge denied setting bail due to Cole’s murder charge. His arraignment in district court was scheduled for Thursday, March 30.