Dash-cam video captures the moment the Fort Jackson soldier boarded the bus and pointed a gun at the driver outside Richland County South Carolina. . The soldier then held the driver and 18 Forest Lake Elementary students at gunpoint for over six minutes. After a few minutes, students approached the front of the bus asking several questions including “are you a soldier, are you going to hurt us, are you going to hurt the bus driver?” The questions seemingly disarmed the soldier who subsequently asked everyone to get off the bus.
Statement on the Incident
At about 7 a.m. this morning, Pvt. Jovan Collazo, 23, left Fort Jackson without authorization, attempting to return home. Carrying an Army-issued M-4 carbine rifle, Collazo hijacked a school bus before releasing the driver and schoolchildren without harm. Richland County Sheriff’s Deputies then arrested Collazo. Collazo remains in custody with Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
As part of their training, the trainees are issued rifles in preparation for marksmanship training; however, trainees do not have access to ammunition until they are on a designated marksmanship range. Pvt. Collazo, a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, at this stage of training, had not been to a marksmanship range or had access to ammunition.
Collazo left Fort Jackson when his unit was conducting personal hygiene after unit physical training, in preparation for breakfast and other training events.
Collazo arrived at Fort Jackson the second week of April and was in his third week of basic training with his unit. His next of kin have been notified that Collazo committed a serious offense and remains in the custody of local law enforcement pending civil charges.
Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr., convened leaders from across Fort Jackson to assess force protection, personnel accountability, and any additional measures to prevent any future incidents. The entire Fort Jackson team continues to communicate and work with Army headquarters leadership to immediately implement changes that ensure the safety of Fort Jackson and our local community.
Fort Jackson leadership has initiated their own investigation and continues to work with Richland County Sherriff Department. Richland County Sherriff’s office is currently the lead agency on the investigation.