CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Cypress Pond Drive neighborhood is quiet. There are a lot children. Neighbors say several school buses drive through the neighborhood. Most kids walk to and from the bus stop.
“Before I wasn’t really scared. I didn’t think nothing like that was gonna happen around the ‘hood so I thought everybody knew me. I knew them. We were all cool. I didn’t think anybody was just gonna pull up nowhere and do that,” said a 13-year old who doesn’t her identity revealed.
The middle schooler says her routine of walking to and from the school bus stop changed on the morning of May 2 after she spotted a car but didn’t recognize the driver.
“He drove in a whole circle and waited till my friend left and he came and he pulled by the stop sign,” she said. “That’s when he came out, got out the car and dropped his pants and then exposed himself to me – act like he was coming near me so when he started walking towards me then I ran.”
The teenager says she ran home, and she and her sister went back to the bus stop to see if the man was still there but he was gone.
“I was nervous. I didn’t know if he had a weapon. I didn’t know if he had a gun. He could have done anything,” she said. “I was nervous, scared, shocked.”
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) say this is one of eight cases they’re investigating. Officers say they first started getting complaints in February. They say the reports of indecent exposure happened in different neighborhoods across the city near school bus stops or CATS bus stops. Detectives say there’s a strong possibility the cases are connected.
The 13-year old's father, who doesn’t want his name used, says he had a range of emotions when he heard what happened to his daughter.
“Anger, frustration, of course wanting to catch somebody that you couldn’t catch,” he said. “I would like for him to be captured. I wouldn’t like for nobody’s child to go through what my child experienced. That’s traumatizing mentally and you have to speak to them about the bad people in this world.”
The father says he went to his daughter’s school to report what happened.
He believes school police should expand their presence.
"I would love to have security on the school bus. But, then again, I would like to have more security around the schools so guns wouldn’t be on campuses or anything. I feel like the school system needs to step up and they’re hollering they need help. The state has to step up. Somebody has to fund our public school system so our children can be more safe,” he said. “I do believe they need to hire them. They need to hire that school police officer not only on the bus, but I think a car needs to be at the bus stops - monitor the neighborhood so something like this - if it did happen - they would be right there in the area nearby.”
CMS says school bus stops fall under the jurisdiction of local police departments, who patrol neighborhoods.
They say bus monitors ride the school buses but they don’t monitor school bus stops.
CMS says the district is working with law enforcement.