On Sept. 10, shortly before 11 a.m., Richmond bus riders alerted the driver that a man had collapsed. The driver pulled over, called 911 and evacuated the bus
Richmond police confirmed that 66-year-old Ray Bass, a retired Air Force veteran, was on his way to a doctor’s appointment at a VA medical center when he suffered a heart attack and died on the bus.
Video released by the Richmond Police Department shows a man, identified by police as 20-year-old Damontea Chappell, pretending to help Bass then appearing to steal from the unconscious man’s pocket as he lay dying.
Greater Richmond Transit Company transit system said while the bus driver was following emergency procedures, Chappell lied and said he was assisting Bass so he wouldn’t be alone.
Chappell can be heard saying aloud, “Pops, what yo name is, Pops?” and “I’m trying to find your wallet,” then “Where is your wallet?”
Eventually, Chappell is seen on camera grabbing Bass’ wallet and taking a wad of cash.
“He was acting as though he was a good Samaritan when all the while, he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Richmond Detective Greg Russell.
Russell said Chappell took $200 to $400 from Bass’ wallet.
“I’ve been a police officer for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Russell said. “This might take the cake. This is a vile incident that should not have happened. This man deserved respect and was totally disrespected.”
Russell said when officers arrived, Chappell told them he was “terrified” and “had never seen anyone die.”
Once the video surfaced, police found there was a warrant out for Chappell’s arrest.
An official from the Richmond Police Department said Chappell turned himself in to police Wednesday and was being held without bond.
Below is a statement from GRTC’s Carrie Rose Pace.
“GRTC commends the other passengers who did come the passenger’s aid and notified the Operator of the health emergency. They did the right thing and humanely tried to help. Our Operator followed the emergency protocols to ensure the right help could arrive as quickly as possible, too. They really did act with care and we believe most people would in the same situation.“
According to an online obituary, Bass, a father and grandfather, was a former aircraft mechanic and enjoyed family, fishing and football.