'Suspicious person' arrested after getting on school bus with k - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

'Suspicious person' arrested after getting on school bus with kids

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Jeremy West Jeremy West
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A FOX 10 Exclusive

PHOENIX - A stranger, possibly armed with a gun, got on a school bus Thursday morning with a handful of children on board.

The good news is no one was hurt, but a lot of parents are wondering how it happened -- especially coming just months after an Alabama man boarded a school bus and kidnapped a 5-year-old boy before holding him hostage for nearly a week.

Police have identified the suspicious man as 29-year-old Jeremy West.

West boarded the bus near 23rd Ave and Missouri about 7:30 a.m. and got off a few blocks away when the students were dropped off at Simpson Elementary School.

After he got off, one of the children found a fully loaded 9mm magazine on the seat the man had been sitting on.

Turns out West was involved in an incident with one of the children the day before.

Wednesday, a 15-year-old child was dropped off at his home and was approached by the suspect. He asked the teen if he wanted "a cigarette" or "a fix." The child told him to leave him alone and went home.

The next morning, West followed the teen to the bus stop and followed him onto the bus. The adult bus assistant asked him if he was with the child, and West said yes.

"At first I was nervous because he was just following me and when he got on the bus I was just kind of shocked," 15-year-old Jacob told FOX 10. "The bus assistant, she asked him are you here with Jacob and he said yeah."

We asked Jacob why he didn't say anything. "Because I didn't hear at first," he said.

Jacob says the man was fidgeting on the bus. He believes he was on drugs.

"They were all yellow and all around his eyes was red and his teeth were black on the inside."

Police believe the man was armed with a 9mm handgun and left his magazine behind.

Police searched the area where the man got off the bus, but did not locate him.

Soon after FOX 10 showed West's photo during a newscast, citizens began calling Phoenix Police with information.

According to officers, they found and arrested West at an apartment near I-17 and Camelback Road on Thursday night.

Police say West admitted to being on the bus and that they found evidence supporting his charges of endangerment, criminal trespassing and weapon on school property.

Officers didn't elaborate on exactly what the evidence was.

West hasn't given police a reason for why he got on the bus.

By the way, a district spokesperson said it's not uncommon for parents to ride the bus to get to school conferences -- but admitted they have no policies regarding or regulating it. They are investigating.

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