A Prince George’s County school bus driver says she went into “Jesus mode,” praying constantly when a group of teens got on her bus May 1 and allegedly tried to shoot another boy on the bus.
“I didn’t think about my safety,” Natalie Brower said. “I wanted to protect that child when I saw that gun.”
The 14-year-old victim was the last student on the bus, sitting right behind Brower when he was attacked.
“Within a split second three masked guys with hoodies jumped on the bus,” Brower said.
The suspected gunman, just 15 years old, pulled the trigger three times, but the gun didn’t fire, police said. Three live rounds were found on the floor.
“When I saw the handle of that gun, the only thing I could do was call on the name of Jesus,” Brower said.
After the gun jammed, three boys beat the victim then jumped off the bus and ran, police said.
Brower drove to a safe location with the victim and reported the crime.
She describes the frightening attack as life changing.
“If that gun hadn’t jammed, I might not be here today,” she said.
She and the union that represents her raised safety concerns. They want more cameras, panic buttons that alert police right away, and more security personnel and aides on every bus.
“The main point that we want is that we don’t want the schoolyard to be the graveyard, and if we don’t make some change, that’s just what’s going to happen,” union President Martin Diggs said. “And we have to make some changes quick.”
Prince George’s County Public Schools issued a statement regarding safety concerns, saying, “Safety and security staff and transportation supervisory staff attended a training session for this type of incident and are coordinating with local law enforcement to inform our personnel on the proper response. We are also looking at best practices and additional processes to implement for transportation staff.”
Brower said she became a driver because she loves kids, but she hasn’t gotten back on that bus since the attack happened and she’s not sure if she ever will again.
The alleged gunman and three other teens have been charged as adults with attempted murder. They’re all being held without bond.