GULFPORT — Three teenagers were arrested Wednesday after police said they beat a 13-year-old boy on a Pinellas County school bus, stole his money and fled through an emergency exit.
The boys, all 15, face charges of aggravated battery following the Tuesday attack on bus No. 702, which was captured on surveillance video, Gulfport police said. One of the teens faces an additional charge of robbery for swiping the younger, smaller victim's cash. The Times is not using the names of the suspects because of their age.
Police are recommending a charge of child neglect against the bus driver for failing to properly help the child, but have forwarded their findings to the State Attorney's Office for consideration, said Gulfport Sgt. Thomas Woodman. The name of the driver won't be released until the investigation is complete.
The bus was taking students home from Lealman Intermediate School summer classes Tuesday afternoon when the teens attacked the boy, kicking and stomping on him at least 23 times, police said. The victim's arm was broken.
The bus driver radioed for help and stopped at 20th Avenue S and 51st Street, but the older boys had fled before police arrived.
During the beating, officers said other students shot video on cellphones and uploaded footage to YouTube.
The victim told officers one of his attackers had offered to sell him drugs in a school bathroom earlier that day, police said, so he reported it to school officials.
Danielle Paquette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4224.