Armed U.S. Army Trainee Hijacks South Carolina School Bus Full Of Children


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An Army trainee has been arrested and charged with dozens of crimes after authorities say he boarded a South Carolina faculty bus with a gun Thursday and held the motive force and elementary college students hostage earlier than letting them off the bus.

Throughout a information convention, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott mentioned the incident began at round 7 a.m. close to Fort Jackson, the U.S. Army’s largest fundamental coaching facility, situated in Columbia. The trainee, wearing bodily coaching garments, “ran off publish and escaped” with a rifle from the set up, Lott mentioned. Deputies then began receiving calls about somebody standing on a close-by interstate flagging down automobiles.

The trainee, whom Lott recognized later Thursday as Jovan Collazo, then went to a close-by bus cease the place youngsters had been ready to be taken to Forest Lake Elementary School, Lott mentioned, and boarded the bus himself, armed with the rifle.

“He informed the bus driver he didn’t need to damage anyone; he wished him to drive him to the subsequent city,” Lott mentioned.

Video that Lott performed throughout a late Thursday information convention confirmed Collazo boarding the bus, shouting on the driver to shut the door and drive. He was on board with the scholars and driver for a complete of six minutes, the sheriff mentioned.

A number of the 18 youngsters on the bus started utilizing cellphones to name dad and mom to allow them to know what was taking place, Lott mentioned. After among the youngsters requested repeatedly if Collazo deliberate to harm them or the motive force, the trainee “acquired a bit of annoyed” and ordered the bus stopped, permitting the motive force and kids to get off, Lott mentioned. He then drove the bus a number of miles earlier than abandoning it, with the rifle inside.

Collazo then “went by neighborhoods” close by, Lott mentioned, in search of garments, was subsequently noticed by deputies and arrested with out incident.

A spokeswoman for the Richland Two School District mentioned the bus was transporting elementary faculty youngsters. As a precaution, safety at a number of space colleges was elevated and nobody was allowed to enter or go away the buildings, she mentioned.

“A really scary scenario this morning,” Lott mentioned of the incident, which he mentioned lasted about an hour.

That is no less than the second high-profile incident in current weeks involving a soldier based mostly at Fort Jackson. Final month, a Fort Jackson soldier was charged with third-degree assault and suspended after a web-based video depicted him accosting and shoving a Black man in his neighborhood.

Lott mentioned Collazo was in his third week of fundamental coaching on the set up. Throughout a information convention Thursday, Fort Jackson Commanding Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. mentioned the trainee was 23 years outdated and didn’t have ammunition in his weapon, which had been issued as a part of his coaching.

“He was a really quiet particular person, hailed from New Jersey … and we assessed that he was simply making an attempt to make an try to return residence,” Beagle mentioned.

Trainees had been on a post-breakfast break when the person left the bottom. He seemingly grabbed his unloaded weapon as a result of leaving it behind would have alerted supervisors that he was absent, Beagle mentioned.

“There’s nothing that leads us to consider … that this had something to do with harming others, harming himself or something that hyperlinks to every other sort of nefarious exercise,” he added.

Beagle mentioned the incident had laid naked “a key failure in our accountability processes, that I’ll repair, going ahead, as a result of the result doubtlessly may have been a lot worse.”

Collazo faces dozens of fees, together with 19 counts of kidnapping, in addition to counts of carjacking, possessing a weapon on faculty property, armed theft and weapons possession throughout a violent crime. Court docket information didn’t record an lawyer, and he was being held in jail Thursday afternoon.

Beagle mentioned the Army can also take disciplinary motion of its personal, together with fees of being absent with out go away and theft of a weapon from the bottom.


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