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Richland Two parents react after school bus hijacking by Fort Jackson trainee

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A soldier in training at Fort Jackson has been arrested after hijacking a school bus while armed with a gun, police said.

Officials say the school bus was taking kids to Forest Lake Elementary School when 23-year-old Jovan Collazo of New Jersey entered the bus with a gun.

Parents in the district reacted to the news Thursday.

“It was kind of a shock, we were in traffic on the way to school this morning and we saw the police go by,” Kristin Shaughnessy, parent to two children that attend Forest Lake Elementary, said.

Richland Two School District Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis released a statement about the incident saying in part:

“We are so fortunate and grateful that this incident ended peacefully thanks to the actions of our bus driver, our students, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbia Police Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol, and other first responders.”

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Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott praised the school bus driver as a hero, saying he remained calm in the face of danger.

Shaughnessy said her kids do not ride the bus to school this year but did in prior years, adding that it’s comforting to know how the bus driver acted in that dangerous moment.

“It just makes you think every day about their safety and where you’re sending them when they leave the house in the morning,” said Shaughnessy.

School district officials said they are offering counseling to the children who were involved in this incident. They say they will continue to be available to the students and the driver of the bus as long as necessary.

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