PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence police are investigating after gunshots were reportedly fired near a school bus carrying children Thursday afternoon.
Major David Lapatin said the bus was on Alverson Avenue near Hartford Avenue when the driver reported seeing two men arguing; one reportedly fired several shots into the air.
The driver told all the children on board to get on the floor, but Lapatin said that the driver didn’t call 911 and continued his route instead.
Lapatin said the incident was not reported to police until the bus driver alerted his superiors to what he witnessed.
Providence contracts with company First Student for its school buses.
First Student spokesperson Frank McMahon said the “bus driver’s lead responsibility was ensuring the safety of the children on his bus. The driver acted properly and decisively to protect them by instructing the children to take shelter under their seats. The driver left the area of the incident as quickly and as safely as possible, then made the requisite stops on his route to drop off the children.”
McMahon went on to say, “Providence Police were notified by First Student, and the driver informed the Providence Police about what he witnessed.” He added that “First Student is thankful that our driver acted professionally and decisively and that no child was hurt in this incident.”
Police do not believe the children were in any immediate danger.
Laura Hart, director of communications for Providence Public Schools, issued the following statement:
“On Thursday afternoon, a school bus serving Carnevale Elementary School drove by a neighborhood altercation on Alverson Street where gunshots were allegedly fired. Following protocols, the adults on the bus instructed all students to shelter under their seats, and the bus driver immediately drove away from the situation. Police are investigating. It is important to stress that this was an isolated incident and that the school bus was in no way targeted. Parents of all passengers were notified and social workers were on site the next day to assist with any students who needed support.”