MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC4) – A transient man has been charged after attacking a Utah bus driver, brutally beating him and trying to gouge out one of his eyes, according to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.
Cameron Michael Ward, 25, was charged with two counts of disarming a police officer (first-degree felony), aggravated assault (third-degree felony), two counts of assault against a peace officer (class A misdemeanor), and interference with arresting officer (class B misdemeanor).
On Dec. 20, at 210 West 3300 South in Salt Lake County, Utah Transit employee Neil Uemura pulled his bus into the Millcreek Trax Station and exited the bus, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Upon exiting, Uemura saw Ward “slam his body into an electrical box,” the affidavit states. Ward allegedly then approached Uemura and asked “Where are you from?” before punching Uemura several times in his face and head, causing him to fall to the ground.
Ward allegedly then got on top of Uemura and began to choke him before continuing to punch him. The affidavit states that Ward then repeatedly kicked Uemura. Uemura was able to stand but was then “swiped at” by Ward, causing Uemura to fall to the ground a second time, the affidavit states.
Ward allegedly then tried to gouge out Uemura’s left eye, which caused a “crescent-shaped laceration” to Uemura’s left cornea. Ward “eventually walked out of the area,” the affidavit states.
Uemura told police that he believed he was the victim of a hate crime and was targeted by Ward because of his Asian-American descent.
A Utah Transit Police Officer responded and spoke with Uemura, who had “blood covering most of his head and face,” as well as a “large laceration on the back of his head, several lacerations on his head and face, a swollen left eye, and a swollen left bottom lip,” the officer states. Uemura was taken to the hospital for his injuries.
The officer found a shoe where the incident occurred, while nearby, a South Salt Lake Police Officer found Ward “covered in blood and missing a shoe,” the officer states.
The South Salt Lake Officer states that shortly before 11 p.m. on Dec. 20, he was searching for an unwanted man seen loitering in the area when he came across Ward.
Ward was reportedly yelling about another individual, appeared to have blood on him, and was “very agitated.” The officer states that Ward began walking straight towards him, as the officer pointed his flashlight at Ward and asked why he was so bloody.
Ward reportedly answered by saying he was not bloody, and began to ramble as if he was suffering from a drug-induced episode, the officer states. The officer then ordered Ward to sit on the curb, to which Ward responded, “I can’t sit for you,” and “You’re not going to sit me down.”
Ward allegedly then put his hand near the officer’s face and the officer grabbed Ward’s hand, while Ward then began punching the officer in the head and face.
The officer was reportedly able to take Ward to the ground and was waiting for backup officers to arrive, while Ward continued to fight, grabbing at the officer’s gun and trying to remove it from his holster. Additional officers arrived, and Ward kicked one of the officers in the torso “so hard that his gear on his vest was knocked off,” the affidavit states.
According to medical records, Uemura suffered a laceration that required six staples, a ruptured left eardrum, a laceration to his left cornea, a left frontal scalp hematoma, and facial swelling.
Ward’s identity as the man who attacked Uemura was later verified in surveillance footage. Ward was charged with brutally assaulting Uemura “for no reason and with zero provocation,” police say. He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on the charges previously stated.
Ward is believed to be transient due to his not having a valid address, and police say he poses a substantial risk to the alleged victim, the community, and law enforcement officers.
No further information is currently available.