COLUMBIA. S.C. (WSPA) – Attorneys and family members of victims in last week’s Forest Lake Elementary school bus hijacking will hold a news conference at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
According to a press release, family members of two of the victims will join attorneys Bakari Sellers and Jessica Fickling to call on authorities at Fort Jackson and Richland County School District Two to answer questions about what led to the hijacking of a Forest Lake Elementary school bus last week.
23-year-old Jovan Collazo has been charged on 19 counts of kidnapping and weapon charges in connection with the incident.
Sheriff Leon Lott said the trainee was wearing physical training clothes when he left the base at about 7 a.m. with a rifle.
Someone called the sheriff’s office about a man attempting to flag down cars on I-77. Lott said after the trainee didn’t get picked up on the interstate, he noticed some students were waiting at a bus stop on Percival Road.
After all of the Forest Lake Elementary School students got onto the bus, the trainee got on the bus with his rifle and told the driver he did not want to hurt them. He also told the driver to take him to the next town, Lott said.
A deputy was stopped on Percival Road by a parent of one of the students on the school bus. The parent told the deputy that their child was on board and there was a man with a gun on the bus, Lott said.
The bus driver started driving, and the trainee brought all of the students to the front of the bus, Lott said. The students started asking the trainee several questions.
The trainee got frustrated and then made the driver and the 18 elementary school students get off of the bus.
The trainee drove the bus for a few miles before abandoning the bus. Lott said he left the rifle on the bus.
Lott said the trainee ran through a neighborhood, attempting to get a ride and find new clothes.
Deputies spotted the trainee near Percival Road and I-77. He was arrested without incident.
No injuries were reported.