On thursday, a school bus filled with children was hijacked by a gunman.
The suspect, 23-year-old Jovan Collazo was fleeing army base Fort Jackson when he boarded the bus, holding the driver and 18 young students at gunpoint, authorities claim.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott first and foremost praised the bus driver as a hero.
“Bus drivers are unsung heroes, and they are,” he said. “I think we saw that today. We saw a bus driver who cared about the children on that bus, and he used his training to protect those children.”
The driver whose name is still unknown had just recently completed training on what to do if an active shooter hijacked a bus and Sheriff Lott revealed used his training by remaining calm, and managing to keep the gunman and children calm too.
According to Fort Jackson Brigadier General Milford Beagle, Collazao had jumped a fence at the base shortly after 7 AM in an attempt to return home to New Jersey.
He tried to stop a number of cars driving past unsuccessfully, but then sighted the bus
Terrifying footage from the security camera shows the clearly agitated gunman forcing his way onto the school bus, pointing his rifle at the driver.
His superiors later confirmed it was the rifle assigned to him, and it was not loaded. According to Sheriff Lott, the gunman was the only one who knew that. He said;
“It didn’t matter if there was a bullet in it or not; in the bus driver’s and those kids’ minds, that was a loaded gun being pointed at them,” he said. “That put the fear in their hearts.”
The Sheriff was also praised the children, who remained calm throughout, despite being in a “very scary situation” with an armed man “who was very desperate.”