Columbia kindergarteners save the day when faced with armed intruder on school bus: “They are my heroes”
A U.S. army trainee went AWOL from Fort Jackson, located within the city of Columbia, and used the government-issued rifle in his possession to take control of a school bus full of little kids, according to official reports.
The heroic bus driver that went through the ordeal with the children, many of whom were kindergartners, shared how his 18 young passengers played a decisive part in bringing everyone safely out of the ordeal.
How did it all happen?
Kenneth Corbin, the driver of the school bus, accepted to have an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday. He took this opportunity to share the details about the incident that happened on May 6 and how the little kids saved the day.
“The kids were the ones that actually got the gentleman off of the bus, and they pretty much had my back as much as my concerns were with them,” the driver said during the interview.
When the kindergartners kept questioning the armed intruder this seems to have made him get frustrated since his purpose was just to get to the next town.
“And at the end when they started questioning him, it seemed to have frustrated him because his main objective was to get to the next town; but in the end I think we were only on the road about four miles, and he just got frustrated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and just get off: All y'all get off. “
According to the police, Jovan Collazo, 23, seems to have been trying to get home. He has been arrested and faces two dozen charges, including 19 counts of kidnapping, the program noted.
Avalanche of questions saved everyone
The bus driver said during the interview that the hijacker made all the kids come to the front of the bus so he could keep an eye on them. He hardly suspected this decision would backfire.
“When he did that, especially some of my kindergarteners, they started asking him questions,” the driver recalls.
First, they asked Collazo if he was a soldier to which he hesitantly “answered ... 'yes, I'm a soldier.'"
What happened next?
“They asked him, 'Why are you doing this?' And he never did have an answer for that one. Then they asked was he gonna hurt them; he said 'no.' They asked was he gonna hurt our bus driver; and he said, 'No, I'm going to put you off the bus.' He sensed more questions coming ... I guess something clicked in his mind and said ... 'enough already,' and he just told me to ... 'stop the bus right here, and just get off.'”
According to the bus driver, “it was just a matter of staying calm and following his instructions and thinking about the kids, because I didn't want to do anything that would, you know, rile him to cause him to do something that would bring harm to my kids. They were precious cargo, and I pretty much just had to just do whatever, you know, to get them off the bus safe and sound.”
“It seemed as if their goal was to do the same by me, and that's why I refer to them as my heroes,” Corbin concluded about the Columbia bus hijacking.