Juvenile shoots activity bus

Published 9:08 pm Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Northside High School activity bus came under fire Wednesday night by a juvenile wielding a BB gun.

The Northside track team was near the intersection of East Seventh Street and John Small Avenue in Washington when a BB bullet shattered a window on the bus. According to Sarah Hodges, public-information officer for Beaufort County Schools, Northside boys’ basketball coach Michael Proctor was driving the activity bus at the time. With him were track coach William Wilson and 12 members of the track team, as they returned to Northside from a track meet at Southside High School.

“Coach Proctor had the foresight to get them out of the area (of the shattered window) before the bus even stopped,” said Hodges. “We credit him with getting the kids out of harm’s way.”

Proctor pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store at the corner of Hudnell Street and John Small Avenue, where the coaches alerted authorities to the incident.

Lt. William Chrismon with the Washington Police Department said that police found the juvenile allegedly responsible for the shooting immediately after arriving on the scene. The suspect was detained and turned over to a parent.

“It appears that this was a random event. We don’t believe that there’s any cause for alarm,” said Chrismon.

The name and age of the juvenile is being withheld.

No one was injured during the shooting, and, according to school officials, the students were “doing fine” Thursday. Hodges said that Beaufort County Schools’ staff is relieved that the incident merely resulted in aggravation when it could have been a catastrophe.

“We know we have good staff and we really see it in these positive ways, where their actions protect the students,” said Hodges. “A bus can be replaced. We’re just really grateful that’s all we’re replacing today.”

“It’s a serious thing,” said Chrismon, “But based on the information we’ve uncovered, this was just an isolated act by a juvenile, a kid not making the best of choices. But we’ll let the juvenile system handle that.”

The incident remains under investigation by Washington police.