Suspect in Greyhound bus shooting appears in court, but plea is delayed

A man suspected of a shooting aboard a Greyhound bus in Oroville that left a woman dead and four other people injured last week appeared in court for the first time Wednesday but did not enter a plea.

Asaahdi Elijah Coleman, 21, had a partial arraignment, Butte County Dist. Atty. Michael Ramsey said. Charges were read, but Coleman’s defense attorney, Robert Marshall, requested more time to gather information before his client enters a plea.

Continued arraignment and a plea are expected March 2, Ramsey said.

“Especially in a case this serious, there’s going to be voluminous information,” Marshall said. “There’s going to be boxes and boxes. It’s going to take a lot of investigation.”

The shooting occurred around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 as the Los Angeles-bound bus made a rest stop at a gas station and convenience store at Oroville Dam and Feather River boulevards, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.

Coleman, who boarded the bus in Redding, had been acting paranoid and allegedly thought one of the passengers was an undercover law enforcement officer, said Sheriff Kory Honea. He opened fire with a 9-millimeter handgun as passengers were beginning to exit in Oroville.

After arriving on scene, deputies responded to tips that Coleman was inside a nearby Walmart, Honea said. They found the suspect naked and acting erratically inside the store and arrested him “without further incident.”

Karin Dalton, a 43-year-old Seattle resident, was killed in the shooting, authorities said.

Dalton’s 11-year-old daughter was shot and has been released from the hospital, Ramsey said. The girl and her 14-year-old brother, who wasn’t injured, are moving with family to another state.

A fundraiser organized by Dalton’s family said she gave her life to protect her children. About $10,000 of the fundraiser’s $50,000 goal had been raised as of Wednesday.

The three other victims are in various stages of recovery, Ramsey said.

A pregnant 25-year-old woman was hospitalized after suffering gunshot wounds and “may well remain in the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy, which is another three or four months,” the district attorney said.

A 32-year-old man remains hospitalized and is recovering. Ramsey said the man was badly injured but was in “more stable condition” Wednesday.

A 38-year-old man who suffered a minor injury was released from the hospital, the district attorney said.

Coleman was charged with one count of murder and four counts of attempted murder, court records show. Each count carries a special enhancement for using a weapon and causing great bodily injury. He also faces two counts, without enhancements, of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

He faces 148 years to life in prison if convicted as charged, Ramsey said.

Marshall, who was appointed by the court to represent Coleman, said his client’s family is seeking to retain Linda Parisi, a Sacramento attorney with whom they have a relationship.

The defense and prosecutors are gathering information and reviewing evidence as it comes in, he said.

Marshall said he and the Coleman family hope all who were injured make full and speedy recoveries.

“Obviously it’s a tragedy anytime you have a loss of life like this and further injuries,” Marshall said. “Our hearts go out to the mother and her family.”

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