Warning: Language in video above
When SEPTA employees saw surveillance video of a man shooting an employee inside a Church's Chicken store in the city's Tioga section this month, they believed they recognized him, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said Thursday.
The man they knew as "angry rider" Ronald Graham had lodged so many complaints against SEPTA, Nestel said, that transit officials were able to zero in on Graham's "main route of complaint," Route 23. And on March 10, SEPTA police turned their body cameras on Graham as they arrested him on a Route 23 bus.
Body camera footage released Thursday shows SEPTA Officer Matt Arlen quickly and quietly evacuating the full bus without ever waking Graham, who was asleep in the rear corner.
"I'll tell you, the riders, man, everybody jumped off that bus," Nestel said. "They were moving."
Arlen and a backup officer had to rouse Graham to place him under arrest.
"This is a great example of how we're going to be able to use body cameras in the prosecution of cases and in review of actions in the field," Nestel said.
Graham, 70, was charged with attempted murder and related offenses. He allegedly shot a 19-year-old employee of the fried-chicken restaurant March 6.
Police released surveillance footage of the suspect, hoping that someone could identify him - and a lot of people at SEPTA did, Nestel said.
"He apparently calls customer service and he's an angry rider, so much so that the woman that saw the video knew who it was and knew it was that angry man," Nestel said. "Transit police had also had incidents involving Mr. Graham, so a number of officers recognized him."
In addition, Nestel said, Graham was recognized on the video by a SEPTA Internal Affairs sergeant.
Following Graham's arrest, the other passengers got back on the bus and it went on its way, Nestel said.
"They had no idea what happened, so I hope they see this," Nestel said of the video footage.