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Sheriff’s deputy punched on Metro bus believes uniform spurred attack

OVERLAND, Mo. - A St. Louis sheriff's deputy was punched in the face three times while riding a Metro bus to work Wednesday morning. Corian Byrd, 25, a father of two, spoke to Fox 2 about the frightening attack.

The Overland Police Department is handling the case. Byrd has been a deputy for about eight months and says he thinks he was probably targeted because he was in his uniform.

Byrd suffered some bruising and swelling on his face.

"This morning, it really was real," said Byrd.

The deputy said he got on the Metro bus around 6:30 a.m. at Page Ave. and Woodson Road in Overland. The bus had only three passengers on board. The deputy sat down and when he looked up, a man he never met before who was sitting in the back of the bus got up and sat right next to him.

"He was sitting at the end of the bus, at the end of the bus comes down and stares at my shirt and looks at my patch; it says 'Sheriff Department,'" Byrd said.

The deputy asked him if he was ok and the next thing he knew the 26-year-old man punched him in the face three times.

"When he struck me, the first thing I thought was, 'Man, I don't want to get hit again.' I grabbed him, I tried to restrain him, cause he hit me about three times," said Byrd.

The deputy and another passenger subdued the man until Overland police arrived.

"Our job is dangerous, too. The fact that they are wearing a uniform, this is what happened with Mr. Byrd. Because people may be angry with police, the guy came and sat down along Mr. Byrd and look at his badge and uniform and hauled off and punched him," said Sherriff Vernon Betts.

An Overland police officer responding to the call was injured in a traffic crash. The department later said the officer will be ok.

The case has been turned over to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, where charges are pending.