Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Attack on bus appeared to be unprovoked, witnesses report

- By Shelly Bradbury

An attack with a broken bottle on a Port Authority bus that severely injured a man was unprovoked violence between strangers, witnesses said.

The 24-year-old victim was sitting quietly on the bus about 4 p.m. Friday when the suspect, 30-yearold Juergen Benjamin, boarded the bus in Oakland holding a bottle of malt liquor, according to a criminal complaint. He appeared intoxicate­d, witnesses said.

Mr. Benjamin sat in front of the victim, near the back of the bus. His demeanor was so threatenin­g that one witness, who had been sitting nearby, got up and changed seats, according to the criminal complaint.

After Mr. Benjamin sat in front of the victim, he then “shouted aggressive­ly” at the man to “stop flicking” something at him, according to the complaint.

The victim told Mr. Benjamin that he didn’t flick anything at

him, said a passenger on the bus who asked to be identified only by her first name, Emily. Seconds later, the attack began, she said.

Mr. Benjamin stood up and said, “Do you know who I am?” He then hit the victim with the bottle, shattering it, according to the complaint. He continued to strike the 24-year-old man in the head and neck, according to the criminal complaint.

Other passengers rushed toward the front of the bus to get away from Mr. Benjamin, according to the criminal complaint. The bus driver pulled over in the 4800 block of Forbes Avenue and opened the doors to allow people to escape. Mr. Benjamin ran out the back door, according to the complaint.

Emily said she and three other people stayed with the victim until help arrived. She said the man didn’t understand why he was attacked and didn’t seem to know Mr. Benjamin.

“He kept saying, ‘ Why did he do this, why did he do this?’” she said.

When police arrived, the victim was bleeding profusely, according to the complaint.

He was taken to a hospital in critical condition but improved to stable condition Friday night, Port Authority spokesman Adam Brandolph said.

University of Pittsburgh police officers spotted Mr. Benjamin on Boundary Street in blood-soaked clothing, according to the criminal complaint.

He is charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, harassment and public drunkennes­s. He is from Haverford, a suburb of Philadelph­ia, and was also arrested April 7 in Pittsburgh. In that case, Mr. Benjamin was charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and vandalism.

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