COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) – Fort Jackson officials say they have suspended weapons immersion training while they continue to investigate the situation surrounding an AWOL trainee who used a Fort weapon to hijack a school bus in the Richland County, SC last week.
Officials say Fort Jackson commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr. met with leaders throughout the installation to assess the situation and prevent future incidents.
Officials say they knew the gun had no ammunition, but acknowledge that others did not know this at the time. They add that their goal is to determine how this situation arose and to prevent similar situations from happening again.
Beagle said in a press release,
“We truly regret this incident and the effect it has on our community. spoke with Dr. Davis, to express my desire meet the children’s parents so that I can personally share my concerns for them. I want to answer their questions and let them know that we are take steps to prevent this from happening again.”
Deputies say the suspect, Jovan Collazo, has been charged; 19 counts of kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking, pointing and presenting a firearm, use of a weapon in a violent crime and unlawful carrying of a weapon on school property.
According to Sheriff Lott, around 7 a.m. an initial 911 call came in for a subject trying to report cars on I-77 trying to enter it. Shortly after, an RCSO deputy was pulled over by a parent of a child on a Richland Co. School District 2 bus. The deputy was informed that there was a man with a gun in their child’s bus.
Deputies said the subject was unsuccessful in getting anyone arrested, so he walked down Percival Road to a bus stop where the children were boarding a bus headed for Forest Lake Elementary. Once all the children were on the bus, the subject took the gun and told the driver that he didn’t want to hurt him but wanted him to drive him to the next town.
Sheriff Lott said the subject was frustrated with the kids asking questions, so he had the driver arrested and kicked them all out. The suspect then continued to drive the bus himself before abandoning it. The gun was left on the bus and the suspect then drove through neighborhoods trying to find a new ride and some clothes. Deputies then spotted the suspect and he was taken into custody.
Deputies identified the subject as a trainee in his third week at Fort Jackson.
Sheriff Lott said all students were safe.
Stay tuned as work for more.
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