PHILADELPHIA, PA – A shocking incident unfolded in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood as a SEPTA bus driver was fatally shot six times, leading to the arrest of a 21-year-old woman, Zhontay Capers. Capers faces charges of murder, VUFA (Violations of the Uniform Firearms Act), and other related offenses in connection with the crime. The victim has been identified as 48-year-old Bernard Gribbin from Abington, Pennsylvania.
The fatal event occurred on Thursday at 10:27 a.m. when authorities received a report of a shooting in the 4600 block of Germantown Avenue. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Gribbin suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and throat. Tragically, Gribbin was pronounced dead at 10:36 a.m. after being rushed to the hospital.
Investigators later identified Zhontay Capers as the suspect responsible for the shooting. According to police accounts, Capers exited the SEPTA bus, produced a firearm, and fired a shot at Gribbin. Shockingly, she proceeded to repeatedly enter and exit the bus, firing additional shots at the victim during each re-entry.
Bilal El-Bedawi, a fellow driver who witnessed the incident, recounted hearing the gunshots, initially mistaking them for a bus ramp’s sudden movement. However, the consecutive shots made it clear that a grave situation was unfolding. Passengers inside the bus were quick to react, seeking safety through the bus’s windows and emergency exits.
While there were multiple passengers on the bus at the time of the shooting, none of them sustained injuries. Capers fled the scene on foot but was subsequently apprehended by a plainclothes SEPTA Police officer at the intersection of Greene Street and Queen Avenue. Authorities have not yet been able to recover the weapon that was used in the crime.
While the motive behind the attack remains undisclosed, investigators believe Capers specifically targeted the bus driver. An ongoing investigation will delve deeper into the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
Bernard Gribbin, a 12-year veteran of SEPTA and an Army veteran, resided in Abington with his wife. The shocking incident has left the SEPTA community shaken, with SEPTA Police Chief Charles “Chuck” Lawson expressing the profound impact on the organization. SEPTA issued a statement emphasizing its commitment to the safety and security of its employees and passengers, acknowledging the need for collaboration with stakeholders to address safety challenges.
As of Thursday night, Philadelphia had seen 352 homicides in 2023, marking a 20 percent decrease from the same period the previous year, which had been one of the city’s deadliest years on record.