LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A former bus security guard named Anthony Villanueva, 42, has been charged with the murder of an 82-year-old passenger.
It all began on Nov. 14 when the guard asked the passenger to move his walker out of the aisle.
The elderly man complied but used "coarse language" to express his contempt of the security guard.
Villanueva then told the man to get off the bus. The elderly man threw his walker off the bus but refused to get off himself. The two men then begin to argue.
Villanueva got back on the bus and stood approximately an arms length away from the man. The two continued to argue and the elderly man swung a belt at the security guard.
The guard grabbed the man and began shoving him towards the bus door. The elderly man fell and Villanueva fell on top of him. The guard got up and dragged the man away from the bus.
The victim was transported to the hospital, where he spent one month. He was then transferred to hospice and died on Dec. 21.
During an interview with police, Villanueva said he knew the passenger from previous incidents and knew he as a problem.
He said the elderly man was "covered in urine," blocking the aisle, and using coarse language.
He admitted that he lost his cool but says he did not mean to hurt the man and it was an accident.
Villanueva also told police that he was tired from working too many hours "with the scum of the earth."
Police concluded that the elderly man did not pose a credible threat and that he was probably protecting himself when he swung at the guard.
Villanueva was arrested and booked on a murder charge.
Allied Universal, the company that supplies guards for local buses, sent 13 Actions News this statement:
We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased, and are disheartened about the events and outcome of this situation. The security officer involved was terminated when the incident occurred in November and his behavior in no way reflects the customer care and professionalism expectations of both Allied Universal and the RTC. We deeply regret this tragic situation and are fully cooperating with both RTC and North Las Vegas Police Department on conducting a thorough investigation into this matter.
13 Action News spoke with a security expert, who says things should have never escalated to this point. While it appears from what he told police that Villanueva was suffering from job burnout, expert Doug Poppa says that's no excuse. He says guards should know what they're getting into when they take those kinds of jobs.
"If it's to the point where you're leaving the house every morning saying one day I'm going to kill somebody because I can't handle the situation and I'm tired of working with these types of people, and then you go out and lose it, that's your fault," he says.
Poppa says everywhere he's worked security, there has always been help available. If you're suffering from burnout, he says you should go to human resources to try and seek help before things escalate.
The elderly man was identified by the coroner on Jan. 22 as 82-year-old Charles Adams of Las Vegas. His cause of death is pending.