Heroic security guard shot saving family from gunman at NY transport hub

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSTM/CNN) - A New York security guard is being hailed as a hero after he sprang into action and stopped a gunman who began firing at bus passengers at a transportation hub.

Jahtheel Selmon, 29, had just started his early Sunday morning security shift at the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse, New York, when 31-year-old Andrew Booker started acting irritated after mechanical issues on a bus halted his trip.

Jahtheel Selmon, a 29-year-old security guard, is recovering after he was shot in the abdomen when a man opened fire during his shift at the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse, New York.
Jahtheel Selmon, a 29-year-old security guard, is recovering after he was shot in the abdomen when a man opened fire during his shift at the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse, New York. (Source: Jahtheel Selmon/WSTM/CNN)

"He was real dry when he was talking to me, so he kind of made me feel uncomfortable. I kept my eye on him," Selmon said.

Selmon says when another bus unloaded at the hub, Booker began firing a handgun.

"He literally just started shooting at them. He's shooting at random people," Selmon said.

In the scramble, a father and his young kids ran up to the security guard, asking for help. Selmon guided them to a room with a code-locked door and helped them inside, but when he turned around, he was face-to-face with Booker.

“I ask him a question, like ‘What's your problem? What's going on?’" Selmon said.

Selmon says the suspect mumbled something and shot twice, hitting him once in the abdomen. After a brief tussle, Booker’s gun jammed, and he left to reload.

Later, on the other side of the building, Selmon says Booker spotted him again. This time, the security guard brandished his concealed firearm and pointed it at the suspect, which he says made Booker hesitate.

Andrew Booker, 31, faces charges of two counts of attempted murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
Andrew Booker, 31, faces charges of two counts of attempted murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. (Source: Onondaga County DA/WSTM/CNN)

"I had to think smart, and at the end of the day, I'm still bleeding out," Selmon said.

Seconds later, law enforcement arrived and quickly detained the suspect.

Selmon is now recovering from his injury and surgery. He works multiple security jobs and says it comes naturally for him to want to protect and help others, and even if he knew he would get shot, he would protect that family again.

“As soon as I hear gunshots, my priority is not running. My priority is grabbing whoever I can grab. If I had a kid, I would want somebody to save my kid like that, too," Selmon said.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitpatrick called Selmon a "legitimate hero."

One another person, a bus passenger, was shot during the incident. They were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries to the leg, according to the sheriff’s office.

Booker faces charges of two counts of attempted murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. He has a lengthy criminal history, including an arrest in March, for which he has not yet been arraigned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2020 WSTM, Jahtheel Selmon, Onondaga County DA via CNN. All rights reserved.