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‘An absolute hero:’ School bus swerves to avoid gunshots, ends up in ditch

By Eric Miller

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    DURHAM, North Carolina (WRAL) — In Durham Monday, a shoot out in broad day light.

Shell casings everywhere.

The latest act of gun violence in Durham hitting too close to home for parents like Ashlay Davis.

“One of my friend’s on Facebook had posted, ‘hey if your kid rides bus 132, there’s been a shooting and an incident that occurred.’ and that’s when I went into panic mode,” said Davis.

Davis’s son Jorden was on that bus, stuck at the intersection of E Club Boulavard and Dearborne Drive when the shooting started.

According to Durham Public Schools, the bus driver swerved into a ditch to get the 18 students on board out of harms way.

“One of our Durham Public Schools bus drivers was an absolute hero,” district spokesman Chip Sudderth said. “That bus driver did a phenomenal job of making the students’ safety the top priority.”

According to Durham police, no one was hurt in the shooting, and no arrests have been made.

“When I got the message from staff, and you see the words ‘gunfire, children, schoolbus,’ in the same sentence,” said Durham Mayor Pro Tem Mark-Anthony Middleton. “It just chills you.”

Middleton said this shooting shows Durham’s gun violence problem touches everyone in this city.

“Those children were in danger today. They were not the target. That driver was in danger. All of the other motorists were in danger today, and they were not the targets, presumably,” said Middleton. “Which means that this is a problem we can’t ignore.”

Both Middleton and Davis are incredibly thankful for the bus driver, who they believe saved lives, but Davis says it took too long for parents to find out what happened Monday.

“Two hours, three hours later,” said Davis. “I feel like Durham Public Schools has dropped the ball.”

The bus was carrying 18 students from City of Medicine Academy and Durham School of the Arts, the driver and one other adult, Sudderth said. A back-up bus came to get them and all were delivered to their homes safely.

Sudderth said that counselors would follow up with students about what they saw and experienced in those frightening moments.

East Club Boulevard was shut down as was a Marathon gas station on the corner while police investigated the shooting.

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