LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Disturbing video from inside an RTC bus shows a man stabbing another man 33 times over the course of several minutes before the bus stops.
Aaron Cole, 59, is charged with murder in the death of Dominique Lucas, 30. Both men were riding an RTC bus on Sunday, Feb. 26, when they began to argue.
“I wasn’t bothering you,” Lucas is heard saying on the video the 8 News Now Investigators obtained. 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.
Lucas then stands up and pleads for the bus driver for help.
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.
“Man, come on, you want to get off the bus?” the driver is heard saying to Lucas in the video.
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 video is among the evidence shown to a grand jury, which indicted Cole on the murder charge last week.
According to grand jury transcripts, the driver told the panel he kept the doors closed for the safety of the victim and the other passengers.
“Is it protocol in regard to helping someone out when they get stabbed or injured?” a grand juror asked the driver.
“For the driver to help?” the driver responded.
“Yes,” the juror said.
“Physically?” the driver asked.
“Yes, for the driver to help physically,” the juror said.
“Not that I know of. I mean, the first priority is your own safety, so I’ve got to make sure I’m safe enough to operate that bus for the other passengers also,” the driver replied.
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.
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.
The driver remained employed as of Wednesday. In addition to calling dispatchers, he called 911 for help, the spokesperson said.
Police arrested Cole on the bus. They found him sitting in his seat in the stopped vehicle.
Lucas died from his injuries – some 33 stab wounds, the Clark County coroner’s office said.
The incident happened Feb. 26. 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.
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.
Cole served nearly 23 years in prison and was released in 2017, officials in Texas confirmed.
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.
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.
The document incorrectly lists Cole’s conviction in Texas as “murder” and not the actual charge of assault with a deadly weapon. The conviction would not have affected his risk score as the formula does not take convictions past 10 years into account.
A judge denied setting bail due to Cole’s murder charge. A future court date had not been scheduled as of Wednesday.
Records previously indicated Cole paid $3,000 bail in the Feb. 16 knife-related case. The docket reflects Cole was not required to pay bail before his release on Feb. 22 and was released to a pretrial compliance unit.