AURORA | One woman has died after she was assaulted on an RTD bus in Aurora early Thursday morning, and Aurora police are currently trying to find the man accused of harming her.
Officer Crystal McCoy, a spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department, said the incident began when two women began arguing aboard an RTD bus, possibly the 15L, as it was traveling along East Colfax Avenue at about 6 a.m. Aug. 26. It’s unclear what prompted the verbal disagreement.
During the altercation, an unidentified man interjected and began verbally threatening one of the two women, McCoy said. The man then punched the woman he was threatening, severely injuring her.
The injured woman somehow then disembarked the bus, though it’s unclear if she voluntarily stepped off or the man pushed or dragged her from the vehicle, McCoy said.
The woman died at a local hospital later in the morning, according to McCoy.
“Based on what we have, we’re probably looking at a homicide investigation, ultimately,” McCoy said.
The Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office on Friday identified the woman who died as 57-year-old Helene Michelle Brooks. She died of blunt force injuries, and her death has officially been deemed a homicide, a spokesperson confirmed.
After the woman got off the bus, the vehicle’s driver then continued on his route as he called 911 to report the incident. But before police were able to reach the bus to investigate, the man suspected of assaulting the woman got off at an ensuing stop.
The bus was eventually halted in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library near the corner of Colfax and Elmira Street. Investigators are currently working to retrieve surveillance video from the vehicle, which McCoy said will likely provide a clear visual image of the suspected assailant.
McCoy said authorities believe there was one other witness to the encounter, though it’s unclear if that person was an unaffiliated fourth passenger, or the woman who was initially arguing with the woman who later died.
The bus has remained wrapped in crime scene tape in front of the local library for much of Thursday morning. Police attempted to move the vehicle to a less conspicuous location to collect evidence, but a dead battery or some other mechanical issue caused the bus to remain stuck.
McCoy said video or still images from the incident are expected to be released, as well as information on a possible reward for relevant information, later today.