Man takes photo of Albuquerque bus rider allegedly shooting heroin

Updated: 08/25/2014 10:21 PM | Created: 08/25/2014 8:39 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Some people read on the bus. Some listen to music. Some stare out the window. A man on the 777 Central Avenue Rapid Ride bus in Albuquerque last Thursday injected himself with what appeared to be heroin.

Garrett Knuppell, on his way home from work, took the man's picture with his cell phone.

"I looked back and he was getting his belt ready, tying it around his arm and putting it in his mouth to tighten it so he could get the veins," Knuppell said. "He had the needle sitting there right next to him, next to his leg, and he picked it up and it just started."

Diabetics injecting themselves with insulin do not use tourniquets. Junkies injecting heroin do.

"There was a lady with her child sitting there, and she didn't say anything," Knuppell said. "There was another lady who was pregnant, with the dad, and they didn't say anything either. And the lady sitting right next to him, like right there in front of him, didn't say anything at all!"

"You know, it's kind of weird that somebody saw that going on and they took a picture," said Rick DeReyes of the city Transit Department.  "What we recommend is that, really, if you want to get the quickest results, if that person has a camera, use it to call police."

DeReyes said the bus driver on a big Rapid Ride probably couldn't see what was going on. Knuppell agreed, but said that calling the cops didn't seem like a good option because it wasn't a public emergency, nobody other than the drug-user was in any immediate danger, and it would probably take police a long time to respond. He did say his biggest worry was that an addict like that might leave behind a dirty needle and somebody, God forbid, might get stuck.

The truth of the matter is if you ride the bus enough in Albuquerque or any town this size, you will inevitably see a little bit more of the wild side of life than you might want to – everything from wretchedness to romance. Drunks, druggies, hookers and worse rub shoulders with everyday commuters going to work or doing the shopping, especially on the Central Avenue bus. The driver can't drive that huge machine in heavy traffic and watch everybody at the same time. Injecting heroin on a bus is a crime, just like it is in any public or private place. The best bet might be to call 9-1-1 and let the police handle it.

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