Journalist: Olympic media bus hit by bullets while driving between venues

Fourth-Place Medal
The window on an Olympic media bus after it shattered when driving journalists. (Reuters)
The window on an Olympic media bus after it shattered when driving journalists. (Reuters)

RIO DE JANEIRO – A bus carrying journalists between Olympic venues was hit by gunfire Tuesday night, a passenger said.

Lee Michaelson of Hoopfeed.com said that two windows shattered and the broken glass left two people with minor lacerations.

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A statement from the Rio 2016 organizing committee said the incident took place after a media transport bus left the Youth Arena in Deodoro at 7:30 p.m. en route for Olympic Park. The organizing committee did not confirm whether rocks or gunfire was the cause of the broken windows, but Michaelson is adamant about what she heard.

“I heard two shots – like a pop-pop,” said Michaelson, a retired Air Force captain and handgun owner. “I wouldn’t call myself a firearm expert, but I know the sound of gun shots. You would have to put an FBI firearms expert in front of me to give me one iota of doubt.”

Journalists look at the window of a bus reportedly hit by bullets. (Reuters)
Journalists look at the window of a bus reportedly hit by bullets. (Reuters)

The bus driver’s report to the organizing committee indicates he initially thought the loud noise he heard was photography equipment falling down. Only after he looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the passengers lying on the floor of the bus did he realize something was wrong.

When the bus driver spotted a police car, he pulled over and told officers what happened. The driver then drove the rest of the route to the Olympic Media Center under police escort, causing much of what was left of the shattered windows to give way.

Police were expected to inspect the bus Tuesday evening and take a statement from the driver. The Rio 2016 organizing committee intends to increase patrols by the army and military police in the area of the apparent attack.

The incident comes on the heels of the discovery of a stray bullet at a tent in the equestrian center three days ago. Two Australian rowing coaches were also robbed at knifepoint over the weekend near Rio’s famed Ipanema Beach.

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