A man who hijacked a school bus full of children stopped to let the students off when he struggled to cope with their incessant questioning, police say.
Jovan Collazo, 23, is accused of boarding the bus before ordering the driver to divert to a nearby town near Fort Jackson, South Carolina, US.
The 18 children were said to have bombarded Collazo with questions including “Are you a soldier?”, “Are you a bus driver” and “Where are we going?”, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
Sheriff Lott claimed the children’s questions added to Collazo’s “frustration” to the point when, just six minutes into the hijacking, he ordered the driver to pull over before allowing the children off.
Sheriff Lott told reporters: “The kids were asking questions…so they were being kids, just being kids.
“I think that added to the frustration that he had.”
“There was six minutes – they were traumatised. Six complete minutes that the bad guy was on the bus with a gun.”
CCTV footage from the bus released by police showed a man holding what appears to be a firearm while dressed in a T-shirt emblazoned with the word ‘ARMY’ on the front.
The individual, believed to be Mr Collazo, can also be heard shouting, “Close the door, drive, drive!” at the driver.
Collazo, who left his training in Fort Jackson after just three weeks, was afterwards arrested and charged with 19 counts of kidnapping, armed robbery, and several other felonies, according to Lott, as reported by WFXB.
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The Sheriff said it was the first time such an incident had occurred in his career and praised the bus driver – who had only recently been trained to deal with a hijacking situation.
He added: “Bus drivers are unsung heroes, and we saw that today – we saw a bus driver who cared about the children on that bus.”