MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The MTA’s Eagle Team is out fighting fare evasion in New York City despite a direct threat to their safety earlier Tuesday.

City leaders said a top priority in this enforcement is catching people bringing weapons into the subway and bus systems. According to the NYPD, in the last year, 14 firearms were recovered within the subway system, nine of those stemmed from fare evasion checks. 

On Tuesday morning, three MTA’s Eagle Team members were shot at in Brooklyn allegedly by a man trying to ride the bus for free, police said.

Investigators pulled bullet casings out of trees after police said the Eagle Team pulled the man off a B82 bus and asked him to pay at the bus stop on the corner of Flatlands and Louisiana avenues. The man did have a MetroCard and paid, but the bus drove away. 

The man allegedly became so irate that he pulled out a gun and fired several shots at the Eagle Team before running away. 

“They did their job, asked him to pay the fare, and low and behold, he produced a .45 and took shots at our employees. I can’t put up with that. The MTA won’t put up with that.” said MTA head Janno Leiber.

No one was injured. The head of the MTA said the whole incident was captured on several bus cameras, including on exterior cameras of another bus passing by. The videos are being reviewed by detectives. 

“Busfare evasion has gone up dramatically, and we are very concerned about it. Having unarmed but uniformed officers or agents in this case in the system is part of our strategy,” Lieber said.

The Eagle Team works in groups of six. Most members are retired law enforcement and highly trained but do not carry weapons. 

They aim to catch fare beaters on specialized bus service lines providing express service by having riders pay at a kiosk at the bus stop rather than on the bus.  

Riders who can’t show proof of payment get a $100 ticket or warning. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed $150 million to add more Eagle Teams to the MTA.