A Fort Jackson trainee is in custody after allegedly hijacking a school bus full of students on its way to Forest Lake Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, the Richland County sheriff said.
Sheriff Leon Lott called the incident “a very scary situation,” but said none of the 18 children on board the bus were injured. The driver was also uninjured.
“Probably one of the scariest calls we can get in law enforcement, and as a school district, is that a school bus has been hijacked with kids on it with someone with a gun. And that’s what we had this morning,” Lott told reporters at a news conference Thursday.
Lott said that at around 7 a.m., a trainee dressed in physical training clothes left the Army post with a rifle. According to Lott, the 23-year-old was in his third week of training.
Lott said the sheriff’s department received a call reporting an individual on Interstate 77 who was flagging people down and trying to get into cars. Lott said the trainee eventually ended up at a bus stop where children were boarding the bus and he got on as well. Lott said around the same time, a sheriff’s deputy was flagged down by a parent who said their child was on a bus with a man who had a gun.