RCSD: Ft. Jackson soldier in custody after running off the fort and hijacking a school bus
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Richland County deputies say an armed Fort Jackson soldier hijacked a school bus Thursday morning. Investigators say around 7 a.m. the soldier, whose name has not yet been released, ran off of Fort Jackson and ultimately to a bus stop on Old Percival Road armed with a rifle, where he got on the school bus bound for Forest Lake Elementary.
Deputies say 18 students and a driver were ultimately let off the bus unharmed. According to investigators, the suspect ultimately abandoned the bus and was arrested a short time later. Sheriff Lott says the suspect will face multiple counts of kidnapping as well as additional charges. School officials say the students who were on the bus will be provided with counseling.
Officials with Fort Jackson released the following statement about Thursday’s incident:
“A Fort Jackson trainee ran away from his unit this morning with his Army issued rifle. The trainee managed to hijack a school bus before being subdued to Richland County Sherriff Department in the vicinity of Percival Road.
Fort Jackson leaders are aware and working closely with Richland County Sheriff Department throughout the initial stages of this incident.
This was a failure in our accountability procedures that we truly regret and are apologetic to our community.
We are thankful for the fast actions of RCSD and the local community to assist in the apprehension of the individual.
Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. will conduct a press conference to release additional information.”
Officials with Fort Jackson called a press conference for Thursday afternoon.
School district officials say the students were taken safely to school, where they were met by counselors and reunited with families. Richland Two Board Chair James Manning said, “On behalf of the Richland Two School Board, we are so thankful that our students and bus driver are safe. We appreciate the fast response and the cooperation we received from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Columbia Police Department. Our school district practices for emergency situations and today that practice proved to be immensely beneficial.”