By Denise Dunbar
A gun scare Thursday afternoon turned out to be a toy following a tense scene aboard an Alexandria City Public Schools bus. An unauthorized male entered the bus via the emergency exit just before 3 p.m. and tried to remove a kindergarten student that he said was his brother, according to communications on openmhz.com. The bus driver called dispatch because she said the male was not authorized to take this child.
Calls from the bus driver to dispatch became increasingly frantic, as the driver said the male was pushing her and refused to leave the bus. Once the male was informed that police had been called, the bus driver said he exited the bus, according to openmhz.com.
Another person, who appeared to be another bus driver, placed an emergency call saying that the male who had entered and then left the bus went into Brent Place Apartments at 375 S. Reynolds St. and re-emerged outside assembling a semi-automatic gun, according to dispatch calls on openmhz.com. The bus with the kindergarten student had pulled away by then. Dispatch then told buses to stay clear of the area and a search for the male ensued.
Alexandria Police Department Spokesman Marcel Bassett replied this afternoon via email to an inquiry from the Times, saying that APD officers responded to a call at approximately 2:54 p.m. Thursday for a weapon brandishing at a school bus stop.
“APD immediately arrived on the scene to investigate the incident to discover that no laws were broken. The weapon in relation to this incident was found to be a toy gun that a youth was playing with,” Bassett said in an emailed response. “APD appreciates those who called in to report the incident and appreciate the community for being vigilant in staying safe.”
According to openmhz.com, the first call from the bus driver was recorded at 2:49:12 p.m. on Thursday. The driver said she was at Brent Place and that she needed them to “get somebody here” because a male was “pushing me and he want to take the child by force.”
At 2:49:50, the driver told dispatch: “He tried to take the child. He opened the emergency door and he’s on the bus. I need help. Do you need me to release the child or hold him?”
Dispatch responded: “Calm down. Let him know you can’t release to him.”
Driver: “He refuse to leave.”
Dispatch: “Put the speaker close to him. Let him know we are calling the police.”
2:53:36 Driver: “When he hear we gonna put the police, he left.”
Dispatch: “OK, take the kindergartner back to the school.”
2:54:44: Another caller: “Emergency. Emergency. Emergency please. I just saw the individual who got off that school bus had a semiautomatic rifle in his hand at the doorway leading into the building at 375 Brent Place. There was a man with a semi-automatic weapon.”
Dispatch: “Leave the area right now.”
Driver: “I left the area.”
Dispatch: “Any buses in the area of 375 South Reynolds, leave the area.”
Bassett said no injuries occurred and APD made no arrests in connection with this incident. Alexandria City Public Schools declined to comment.