A 16-year-old boy has been charged with firing four pellets from a .22-caliber air rifle into the side of a school bus carrying 11 children home from San Antonio Elementary School on Monday. No one was injured in the shooting, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. However, a .22-caliber air rifle is a dangerous weapon capable of killing someone, said Wain Roberts, a local gun shop owner.
The bus was near the end of its route Monday afternoon at Bringham Road and Reed Lane when one of the children told the driver that "something hit the bus," according to the Sheriff's Office report on the incident.
The driver, James McKendree, stopped the bus and found four indentations on the right side below the windows. McKendree and the students were able to identify the 16-year-old, who ran from the scene with another teen-ager, reports stated.
The 16-year-old, whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile, was later arrested on a charge of shooting at an occupied vehicle and was released to his father. The second teen-ager was not charged.
"I would hope he wasn't shooting at the students on the bus," said Mike Park, the school district's transportation director.
Park said he suspected that the youth, who in previous years rode McKendree's bus, was trying to "get back at the driver."
It was not the first time this year that someone has shot at a school bus, Park said. It has happened at least one other time this year and seems to happen two or three times each year. Buses also are frequent targets of thrown objects, he said.