By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police in Baltimore are searching for a man who they say assaulted an MTA bus driver and then fired several gunshots last week.

WJZ was one of the only news stations there moments after police say the man viciously attacked the bus driver and then left the scene.

The incident occurred on Bentalou Street on April 4 around 9:30 p.m.

Police say a dispute on the bus quickly turned to an aggravated assault, leaving the driver battered and bruised while the suspect exited and fired several shots from a handgun.

RELATED: Police Release Photos Of Suspect Accused Of Attacking Bus Driver

“He’s recovering, he’s in good spirits. Of course, he is still concerned as far as the suspect being at large,” MTA police Capt. Kelly Holman said.

This attack on a driver isn’t the first to make headlines.

In 2016, a woman assaulted an MTA operator for passing her at another stop.

Last year, a woman threw a cup of urine at a bus driver.

“At what point are they going to really start penalizing people?” ATU Local 1300 President David McClure said. “We can’t allow them to get away with it.”

While police say the number of assaults on drivers is down this year, McClure believes the incidents are spiraling out of control.

“I’m kind of wondering about the numbers here, because I’m getting calls day in and day out about people who are being attacked, assaulted,” McClure said.

Now the search is on for the most recent suspect. If and when he’s caught, officials say it’s time to make an example.

“We need to catch the individual that committed this crime, protect our operators,” Holman said.

“What is it going to take? For someone to actually get killed out here? At what point does it stop?McClure said.

Police are unsure whether the suspect fired at the ground or at the driver. They say they will be conducting random bus checks over the next few weeks to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers.

Anyone with information on the suspect or his whereabouts is asked to call MDOT MTA Police at 410-454-7720.

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