Bus driver says God helped when armed boy tried to hijack bus - | WBTV Charlotte

Bus driver says God intervened as armed boy tried to hijack bus

Evans Okoduwa at the media conference. Evans Okoduwa at the media conference.

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The bus driver who talked an armed student out of a plan to hijack the bus said God was to thank for defusing the crisis Monday afternoon. 

Evans Okoduwa, who was driving bus 1341 Monday, said he looked up as the bus made a scheduled stop and saw the 7th grade boy coming toward him -- holding a gun. 

Related story: Boy tries to hijack school bus

"I got very scared," said Okoduwa, a driver for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. "I thought he was immediately going to use it on me. But after he had stopped and I began to get into conversation with him I was a little calmer, you know, and said a little prayer in my heart, and I got a clear mind after that." 

Okoduwa told the boy to calm down and began asking the boy various questions. Police say the boy planned to have Okoduwa drive him to Washington D.C. where he wanted to shoot government officials. 

The bus driver's calm talk with the boy -- while holding his hand -- seemed to soothe things.

"If he didn't cooperate he could have done anything -- he could have shot me," Okoduwa said. "After a while he released the gun into my hand... I had my hand on his hands -- and he released it into my hands." 

Okoduwa said that he thanks God for alleviating the armed crisis peacefully. 

"I could not do much thinking at the time," he said. "I would mostly attribute it to God – if it wasn't for His help, things would have gone differently on that bus." 

Okoduwa said the boy, who police plan to charge with kidnapping, was very serious but was not crying. The bus driver said he simply used common sense as he calmed the boy. 

"It wasn't anything specific I did that changed the situation," Okoduwa said. "I just stepped into a providential grace – if you call it – that's why he cooperated with me." 

Okoduwa said in a media conference with Charlotte-Mecklenburg School officials  that the other students were very scared. 

"(Some of them) weren't sure if it was a real gun or not. But when they saw my reaction they realized it must be a real gun," Okoduwa said. "Immediately they began to seek to get out of the bus... and I had to calm them down." 

"One of the kids was trying to climb out window one was trying to open out the exit of the emergency door." 

Okoduwa said he tried to keep the kids calm so they wouldn't upset the armed boy.

 After the boy gave him the gun, Okoduwa put the gun in a bag and left the boy with a "good citizen" who saw the event and came to help. 

The bus driver then called his supervisor and was told to stop his bus and wait for police.

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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