Police: DART Bus Hijacker Was ‘Prepared for a Shootout'

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Investigators are combing through hours of video footage and witness statements following a DART bus hijacking, chase and shooting on Sunday. Two officers, hit by gunfire, are home recovering. A Garland officer was hit in the neck and a DART officer in the leg.

Monday, investigators said the gunman, 31-year-old Ramon Villagomez, fired more than 70 rounds at officers during the chase. He was armed with a handgun, four magazines and additional ammunition.

“This gunman was prepared for a shootout,” said Garland Police Lt. Pedro Barineau.

The Garland Police Department is leading the investigation, involving dozens of officers from multiple agencies that pursued the hijacked bus through Garland, Rowlett and Rockwall.

After reviewing video footage from the bus, detectives learned Villagomez boarded the bus at Spring Valley and Coit Road in Richardson at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. He rode the bus as passengers got on and off for an hour and a half, before taking the driver and one passenger hostage at 11 a.m.

Police say a witness called 911. The police pursuit began after Villagomez shot a DART police officer who attempted to pull the bus over. Officers from DART, Dallas, Richardson, Rowlett, Rockwall and Garland departments chased the bus as Villagomez continued to fire at police.

The chase ended just before noon on Sunday, when spike strips deflated three of the bus tires. The bus stopped along the President George Bush Turnpike, near Liberty Grove Road in Rowlett, where police say Villagomez fired at officers again. Police shot and killed Villagomez.

Investigators say officers from DART and Garland fired at the suspect.

The bus driver and passenger were not injured.

Police later learned Villagomez was wanted for questioning in the murder of his girlfriend in San Antonio and aggravated assault in Brazoria County, near Houston.

Relatives of the 65-year-old DART bus driver who was taken hostage say Villagomez repeatedly assured the driver and passenger that he would not hurt them.

“We believe that this gunman was targeting police throughout this entire pursuit,” said Lt. Barineau. “We knew that this person was just trying to get away from the law, he did not want to go to jail.”

Police say eight squad cars were damaged by gunfire, along with an armed security vehicle and one private vehicle.

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