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Bus Driver Speaks Out After Stray Bullet Misses Him By Inches In Washington Heights

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A bus driver is thankful after a stray bullet missed his head by mere inches during a shooting Monday morning in Washington Heights.

No children were on the bus at the time of the shooting.

Bus driver Irvin Mendez was on his way to pick up his first kid of the morning around 6:30 a.m. when he heard two quick pops at 164th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

A bullet smashed through the first passenger window directly behind Mendez, leaving a two-inch hole in the glass. The other bullet punctured the bus' front tire.

Police: Shots Hit School Bus In Washington Heights, No Children On Board

"I didn't see nobody, but I heard the shots," Mendez, 48, told CBS2's Matt Kozar.

Mendez and the bus matron were not injured, police said. There were no children on board.

"I feel very good," Mendez added. "My god protected me."

Police responded to the scene and stormed 2089 Amsterdam Ave. Residents said officers banged on doors and gave chase, making an arrest in a courtyard, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

The suspect was identified as 37-year-old Jose Cabrera.

According to residents, the shots came from a second-story window. Investigators say the bus was not the target, but it's unclear what was.

Jonathan Rojas said police rushed into his building and arrested his neighbor.

"They said that if I saw anybody shooting out the window. I said no," Rojas said. "I actually didn't see nothing or hear nothing. But they said the bullets were coming from the second floor, and it was three gunshots."

Police collected three bullet casings on the sidewalk as investigators canvassed the neighborhood for witnesses.

Cops are questioning the 37-year-old man they believe is the shooter. Investigators say they've recovered his weapon.

Police say he will be charged with reckless endangerment and weapons possession.

Elias Diaz lives on the second floor where they arrested the suspect.

"I though he was a Planet Fitness guy, trying to go to college and stuff like that," Diaz said. "I guess I was sadly mistaken."

The shooting has surprised many residents, who say Washington Heights is much safer than what it was decades ago.

"I feel safe," said Tomis Guzman. "I've lived here for 29 years, and nothing happened."

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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