LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A bus driver who authorities said was one of four motorists who were shot at by a freeway gunman in Arizona, is speaking out with the suspect behind bars Saturday.
Arizona’s governor announced the arrest of 21-year-old Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. by tweeting, “We got him.”
Merritt — who has a criminal history — faced a judge in Phoenix Saturday. He told the judge they had the wrong guy.
Authorities accused Merritt of going on a terror spree against Arizona drivers. Officials said his car was forensically matched to the crimes.
Merritt — a landscaper — was arrested at a Walmart Friday evening. Merritt is being held on a $1 million bail.
CBS2’s Greg Mills spoke to the bus driver who narrowly escaped being shot.
“I’m extremely happy that he’s now in a cage where he belongs, in 4th Avenue Jail” said Robert McDonald Jr.
He and his family were at a Phoenix restaurant Friday night when he heard the news about the arrest.
A bus that McDonald was driving on August 29th was hit by several bullets.
“It’s a stupid thing that he did,” said McDonald, “Now he’s going to pay for it, possibly for the rest of his life in prison.”
McDonald was in Southern California Saturday. Last night, he had to drive a stretch of the 10 Freeway in Phoenix — where the shooting happened — and admits he was a bit nervous.
“I did get shaky, I did get a little concerned. I’m not going to deny that,” McDonald said. “I sure did say a prayer.”
He was bringing a tour group from Phoenix to Costa Mesa — in the similar bus that got shot up.
“I heard a loud bang and thought a rock had hit me, or I may have run over something,” he said, recalling the shooting.
The bullet lodged in a second row seat, perhaps saving his life.
“Somebody was with me that day,” McDonald says, “whether it might be an angel or my guardian angel — whoever. Something definitely saved me that day.”
He said his wife and two children were relieved to see him come home safely that night.
His friends told him with luck like he had, he should have played the lottery that day. And he had.
“Funny thing is,” he said, “I ended up winning $4 on the Powerball.”