St. Louis Sheriff’s Deputy Corian Byrd, 25, was attacked on a Metro bus in Overland on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Photo by Joel Currier.
A St. Louis sheriff’s deputy on his way to work was punched in the face while riding a Metro bus Wednesday morning, police say. An Overland police officer responding to the call for help was then injured in a traffic crash.
It happened at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday near Page Avenue and Woodson Road.
Sheriff’s Deputy Corian Byrd, 25, of St. Louis, said in an interview that after he got on the bus and Page and Woodson Road, a man got on and sat right next to him, despite the bus having only two to three other passengers aboard at the time. Byrd said the man looked at his uniform and badge as he sat down.
“He looked like he was already having a bad day,” Byrd said. “He was looking at me, and I decided to ask him if he was OK. He looked the other direction, and the next thing I know he starts wailing on me.”
The man punched him about three times in the face, Byrd said. Byrd said he had never met the man before and said the attack was unprovoked.
“Honestly, I think he was looking for trouble,” Byrd said.
Byrd was not armed at the time other than carrying pepper spray, which Byrd said he couldn’t reach for in time.
He said he and a passenger subdued the man until police arrived within five minutes. Byrd suffered bruising and swelling on his face but no broken bones.
Byrd said he has been with sheriff’s department for about eight months. He said he thinks he was probably targeted because he was in uniform.
“I definitely didn’t see this coming,” Byrd said. “He was already looking like he was upset. He was looking directly at my uniform. He was trying to identify the department that I worked for and, like I said, he just punched me. Just started swinging on me.”
Overland Police Lt. Steve Branham said police arrested an 26-year-old man. Charges were pending Wednesday.
Police initially reported that the victim was a security officer for Metro but later clarified he had no connection to the transit company.
An Overland police officer was driving to the scene of the assault when his patrol car was hit broadside at the intersection by someone driving a Jeep, Branham said. The Overland officer was okay, as was the driver of the Jeep, police said. The officer’s patrol car has its lights and sirens activated when it was T-boned at the intersection, Branham said.
St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts said the attack isn’t the first time his deputies have been targeted, and illustrates the need for more training for his deputies.
“My guys are no different than anyone else in law enforcement,” Betts said. “My deputies’ lives are at risk just like everybody else that wears a uniform, a badge and carries a gun. This is proof. This is proof.”
By Kim Bell and Joel Currier | St. Louis Post-Dispatch