Published: 07th May 2021
US Army trainee arrested after hijacking school bus with 18 children on board
Collazo who was in his third week of basic training with his unit, was in the custody of Richland County Sheriff's Department (RCSD) and charged with 19 counts of kidnapping
A US Army trainee belonging to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, was arrested after hijacking a school bus full of students. According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, none of the 18 children were injured after they and the bus driver were held hostage on Thursday by an individual later identified by Fort Jackson as 23-year-old Jovan Collazo from New Jersey, reports Xinhua news agency.
The incident lasted about an hour. It all started when Collazo, dressed in a physical training uniform and armed with an M4 rifle, jumped a fence and left the military post at around 7 a.m. Lott said the trainee initially tried to flag people down and get into cars, eventually ending up at a bus stop where the children were boarding a school bus that he also got on. "He got on bus and told the bus driver he didn't want to hurt him, but wanted him to take him to the next town," Lott said.
He said the suspect drove a few miles and was "having difficulties operating the bus" before becoming frustrated and had the kids and the driver get off the bus. Collazo then drove the bus a few miles before abandoning it, leaving in the bus what Fort Jackson confirmed was an issued rifle with no ammunition inside it. Lott said Collazo then wandered through neighbourhoods trying to get "rice and clothes".
Collazo, who Fort Jackson officials said was in his third week of basic training with his unit, was in the custody of Richland County Sheriff's Department (RCSD) and charged with 19 counts of kidnapping, carjacking, possessing a weapon on school property, armed robbery and weapons possession during a violent crime.