Jovan Collazo, a U.S. Army trainee at Fort Jackson, is facing serious charges after authorities say he stole a Richland County, South Carolina school bus carrying elementary school students in Columbia.
Officials from Richland County released a video of the incident, which you can see here or later in this article.
He faces 19 charges of kidnapping, as well as one count each of armed robbery with a deadly weapon, carjacking without great bodily harm, pointing and posing firearms at an individual, carrying guns on school property, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to his jail records.
He is 23 years old.
School Bus Hijacking (Video Footage)
Collazo was wearing his PT uniform when he boarded a school bus with a rifle early Thursday morning, May 6, 2021, according to the Army Times.
The gun was not armed, military officials told the news organization. Collazo was apprehended in less than an hour. The bus driver and the students were not injured. Richland County officials said during a press conference that video showed the suspect, later identified as Collazo, getting on the school bus, pointing a gun at the driver, and ordering him to close the school bus doors and drive.
At a press conference, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott showed a video of the suspect wearing an Army T-shirt and carrying a rifle.
Video released by the sheriff’s office shows the suspect, Jovan Collazo, getting on the bus, pointing a rifle at the driver, and telling the driver to close the doors and drive. @WCBDpic.twitter.com/1UX4oPHwUx
The suspect repeatedly tells the bus driver, “Drive!” and “Close the door!” while pointing a gun at him. The bus driver is seen leaning away from the rifle, complying, closing the doors, and driving the bus in the video.
After the kids and driver were allowed to board, a later video clip shows the perpetrator driving the bus himself, edging out of the doors and getting off the bus.
Chase Laudenslager of WCBD News wrote on Twitter, “A Fort Jackson trainee dressed in PT clothes and armed with a Fort Jackson rifle hijacked a school bus with children onboard this morning. No children were harmed. Suspect has been detained. Fort Jackson leadership says they are aware and are working w/ law enforcement,”
Laudenslager wrote, “Video released by the sheriff’s office shows the suspect, Jovan Collazo, getting on the bus, pointing a rifle at the driver, and telling the driver to close the doors and drive,”
According to his prison records at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, Collazo was arrested and faces a slew of charges in Richland County.
According to the most recent information in his situation, he was in transit from Fort Jackson. Officials said his picture was not posted on the jail website due to policy changes.
The county, not the military, is responsible for his fines. During a press conference, Lott said that Collazo could face additional charges.