Vegas bus driver claims self-defense in shooting passenger

A transit bus driver in Las Vegas claimed self-defense after he shot and wounded a passenger with whom he was arguing, according to a police report made public Tuesday.

Norman Chen told police the man he shot, identified as Felipe Delgado, refused to get off the bus Friday evening, threatened and punched him after the two continued arguing outside the vehicle, and appeared to be reaching for something in his waistband.

Chen told KTNV-TV during a jailhouse interview late Monday that he saw Delgado brandish what he thought was a gun before he fired. "He pulled out something," Chen said. "It was a cellphone. I thought it was a gun and I shot him."

The bus driver also told police, who found a two-shot pistol and a plastic bottle filled with urine in his pockets, that he'd consumed alcohol several days earlier and had smoked marijuana.

Chen, 53, remained jailed without bail pending a court appearance Wednesday on an attempted murder charge. It wasn't immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

Security video and audio from the Regional Transportation Commission bus show the initial confrontation and parts of the argument outside, police said.

The recordings were impounded as evidence and won't be made public pending court action, Officer Larry Hadfield said.

Delgado told police that Chen pushed him, and that he started to run after he saw Chen had a handgun.

Delgado was shot and wounded in the left arm, police said, and Delgado told investigators that Chen continued to attack him, hitting him at least once in the head.

A hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday that it didn't appear that Delgado was still hospitalized.

Chen got back on the bus and resumed driving his route, police said, picking up at least one passenger before he was arrested at a bus terminal.

Police noted that Chen didn't notify police or his route supervisors that he'd been involved in a shooting.

Bill Marion, a spokesman for Chen's employer, Keolis Transit America, said employees are strictly prohibited from having weapons at work.

He said Chen, a driver since 2011, was placed on leave pending the outcome of the criminal case.