SAN DIEGO – A Southern California man burglarized on a school bus with about a dozen children and held a knife to the driver’s head before witnesses pulled him away, authorities said.
The man aboard the bus early Friday morning in the community of Campo when the driver saw him approaching and thought he was a parent trying to get the bus for a child to leave, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Saturday.
“He turned around and I saw the knife,” said Jesus Jimenez, a sixth-grader who helped usher screaming children from the bus through the rear emergency exit.
Parents and others helped the children escape. One parent, with the flag down a driver who jumped on the bus and helped pry the knife from the man’s hands.
No one was injured, said sheriff’s Sgt. William Uelen.
Authorities arrested Matthew Barker, 37, Campo for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon. He was previously known to authorities and had drug issues, Uelen said.
After the flight, the children ran to their parents or outside ran back to their homes. They were taken to school on another bus, school district officials said.
Uelen she said were brought to a classroom where they could be calmed down.
Jesus’ mother, Dania Jimenez, said she was proud of her son’s quick thinking and action to get help from people.
“Imagine if they have not yet opened the door,” she said. “They would have to be stuck in the bus.”
Campo, in the County of San Diego, approximately 173 miles (278 km) south of Los Angeles.