Man attacks disabled, homeless man on bus: ‘You owe me for making my grandmother a slave’
SILVER SPRING, Md. (ABC7) — A black man on a Metrobus attacked a 52-year-old disabled, homeless passenger, spitting in his face, and blaming the victim, who is white, for decades of slavery in the United States, police say.
The incident occurred on a Q1 bus, which had departed the Silver Spring Transit Center and was headed for the Shady Grove Metro Station. It was around 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 24.
According to court documents, Marquis Evans-Royster, 27, approached the disabled, homeless man, looked directly into his eyes and stated, "You owe me for making my grandmother a slave."
The victim remained calm and did his best to ignore the racially motivated comments. However, the confrontation became tenser when Evans-Royster allegedly began to rummage through the victim's pockets. A number of bystanders attempted to intervene, prompting Evans-Royster to charge at various passengers, spit in the victim's face and threaten to douse the victim with a cup full of urine.
"Who carries around a bottle a urine," Metrobus rider Desi Cureton stated with a confused look upon his face. "If I was the judge, I would send him for mental health evaluation."
The bus driver threatened to call the police, prompting Evans-Royster to exit the bus near the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Connecticut Avenue. Yet, before fleeing, the 27-year-old allegedly snapped off one of the bus’ side view mirrors, valued at around $250.
The bus driver told investigators that Evans-Royster boarded the bus without paying a fare and "almost immediately" started to harass the two white passengers. In addition to the slavery remarks, the bus driver recalled Evans-Royster stating all white people are evil and suggesting that the bus’ two white passengers should die.
Metro Transit Police caught Evans-Royster four days later at the Wheaton Metro Station. They have since charged him with a slew of crimes, including, race/religious harassment, robbery, theft, second-degree assault, destruction of property and possession of a false I.D. All told, the charges carry a combined maximum penalty of more than 30 years in prison.
Court records indicate Evans-Royster works as a tow truck driver, carries an extensive criminal record and has two children. He lives in an apartment along the 13900 block of Castle Boulevard in Silver Spring with his sister.
Investigators have collected surveillance video from the Q1 bus, which will likely be entered as evidence in court. The Maryland Public Defender's Office is representing Evans-Royster. His next court appearance is scheduled for October 27 at 10 a.m. in Montgomery County District Court.
"It speaks to the state of the times," said 70-year-old Tyrone Kenney, a black man who came of age during the American Civil Rights Movement. "People are desperate, they're looking for leadership, they're looking for guidance, but they're not getting it at home, they're not getting it from government. It's a period of time I've never seen before."