RIO DE JANEIRO — A media bus traveling between the Deodoro venue cluster and the Media Transport Mall was hit by gunfire on Tuesday night, according to witnesses. The bus arrived at the Main Press Center shortly after 8 p.m. (BRT) with broken windows, including one with a gaping hole.
When asked if she was positive it was a gunshot, passenger and basketball journalist Sherryl “Lee” Michaelson said, “There is no question in my mind, no question in my mind. I’m not a firearms expert. But I know what a gun sounds like. I would say from my experience that it was a small caliber handgun that was shot at the bus at an angle because the sound of that was not of a heavy rifle.”
According to a tweet posted by Hoopsfeed.com, a Reuters photographer who has spent time in Iraq yelled at the bus driver to keep driving, not stop or pull over, after the incident.
Rio organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada told the Associated Press, “We don’t know yet if the bus was shot, or it was a stone.”
Andrada added that three of the 12 journalists on the bus suffered minor injuries. Michaelson said a reporter from Belarus and a volunteer from Turkey were injured by the broken glass. She also said, when the bus reached a location that was considered safe, the police came onboard and talked with the driver.
The bus was hit shortly after passing the toll booths on the new highway between the Deodoro and Barra neighborhoods. Many of the journalists on the bus had just left a women’s basketball game between Japan and Turkey. Michaelson was surprised that no one from law enforcement talked with her or other passengers.
“It was very quick, “pop, pop,” which also belies whoever is trying to tell us it was a rock, said Michaelson. “After the cop came on board, the driver said, ‘Don’t worry. It’s a rock. It’s a rock.’ There is no way that could have been a rock. No. 1, I believe my ears, so as soon as I heard the shot the instinct was flatten and tell everyone else to get down. Second, it’s not like rocks kick up from the side of the road and hit the bus laterally. What kind of nonsense is that.”