Armed police impersonator pulls over school bus

(KXAN)
(KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man with a gun pulled over an Austin Independent School District bus while impersonating a police officer on Tuesday.

The incident began during dismissal at Murchison Middle School, located 3700 N. Hills Dr. in West Austin. A driver reported that a man, described as white and wearing a red shirt and tan shorts, was taking photos of Murchison students as they used the crosswalk.

Later Tuesday afternoon, a man with a similar description posed as a law enforcement officer and pulled over a bus that had one Anderson High School student on board. AISD Police Chief Eric Mendez says the man did not have emergency lights on his vehicle, described as a black Chevrolet Tahoe that looks like many commonly seen unmarked police vehicles. Instead, the man flashed his headlights at the bus to get the driver’s attention. The bus driver opened her door while stopped at a red light and the man, seated in his vehicle, asked about the bus driver’s route.

After the driver dropped off the student, the man pulled the bus over again and boarded the bus, asking about the route. The suspect wore black military style pants and an orange shirt. When the bus driver questioned what agency the man worked for, he told her “DEA,” later saying he worked for the CIA as well. The bus driver asked to see his credentials, at which point the man got off the bus.

Cameras on the bus captured images of the man and his vehicle, but the images are too distorted to see a license plate number, Chief Mendez said. “In my 26 year career… I’ve never seen someone as brazen as stopping a school bus and entering a school bus here in Austin,” the chief said. “Thankfully, no students were on board.”

AISD police will monitor the bus routes while they’re operating and look for the man. Mendez says the patrols will continue until they find the suspect.

The chief commended the bus driver for challenging the man by asking for his credentials. He also encouraged drivers to call 911 if they think they are not being pulled over by law enforcement.

In a letter to Doss Elementary, Hill Elementary and Murchison Middle School parents on Wednesday, school principals said no students were harmed in either incident. While the man has not been seen at Doss or Hill elementary schools, officials wanted to share the information as a precaution.

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