A security guard shot and injured a school bus driver after a minor traffic incident in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday, local police say. On Thursday, authorities charged him with attempted murder.
Kenneth Walter Lilly, 31, shot at the bus driver five times, hitting him twice—in the head and left arm—police said in a press conference recorded by local station WCCO. An eight year old girl aboard the bus was not injured.
Lilly’s car and the school bus had touched as the bus merged onto slow-moving traffic on the freeway, a criminal complaint seen by WCCO stated. Surveillance footage shows Lilly then got out of his vehicle and approached the bus, before appearing to fire five shots at the school bus.
Authorities said he attempted to board the bus before shooting, but was denied entry by the driver who said a child was on board.
Local and state law enforcement officers attended the scene within minutes, and arrested Lilly without incident. The bus driver, 78, was taken to hospital. He is recovering from his injuries.
“We almost start running out of ways to describe this. It is just horrific,” said chief deputy Hennepin County Attorney David Brown told reporters. “These bullets travel an awful long way and the thought that another innocent bystander is hit by one of these bullets just scares everybody.”
“Certainly this is very troubling to have someone that is providing safety transportation to our students being injured by gunfire,” police chief Medaria Arradondo told reporters.
Law enforcement officers expressed concern for the girl who witnessed the attack and said support workers were in touch with her family. “Although physically not injured, thank goodness, the trauma of having to experience such a scene is something that is intolerable—certainly something that us as Minnesotans could never tolerate,” Arradondo said Thursday.
Officers were reluctant to speculate about Lilly’s motivation for the attack. “As far as the mindset of the individual at the time, I do not have anymore information,” Arradondo said.
“The filing of the complaint tells you that we do not believe there was a self defence claim based on the evidence we have seen so far,” Brown added.
Lilly worked for Minnesota-based security company State-Wide Protective Agency. “We never had an issue with him. He was a good guard, I don’t know what happened. He did his job. This is out of his character,” CEO Troy Nadeau said, according to CNN. “I would have never thought of this for him in a million years. He was always on time and never missed a shift.”
Officials charged Lilly with attempted murder in the second degree and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Lilly is set to make his first court appearance Friday at 1.30 p.m. local time (2.30 p.m. ET.)