Video shows how 911 dispatchers, police stopped school bus thief without using deadly force

10December 2021

— Video from cameras on a Fayetteville school bus show exactly what happened Thursday as a man stole a bus from Seventy-First High School and fled from police.

Throughout the video, the man was in distress, saying that “people are trying to hurt me.” Officials believe that George Lamont McArthur, 35, was suffering from a mental health crisis but did not give any other specifics.

While school employees were heating up buses on Thursday morning, McArthur hopped onto one bus and forced a driver off. The 70-year-old woman resisted and fought with the man, the video shows, but eventually McArthur was able to get her off the bus.

After placing a series of phone calls while driving— one to his mother — McArthur called 911. At this point in the video, police were already chasing him.

McArthur explained to dispatchers that he stole the school bus to run away from people who were after him and his family.

The driver told dispatchers that his name is George Lamont McArthur and that he was afraid to stop because he thought the police would hurt him.

“I am in fear for my life,” he said.

The 911 dispatcher appeared to calm him down enough to convince him to stop the school bus, the video shows.

McArthur then stopped the bus, but panicked when he saw officers pointing their guns at him.

“Do not shoot me. I am not armed,” he yelled.

The officers continued pointing their guns at the bus door and scared McArthur. He then drove away while staying on the phone with 911 dispatchers.

For a second time, the dispatcher convinced McArthur to stop the bus at a Circle K on Skibo Road. He asked the dispatcher to send “one officer directly” to him so he could be certain he would not be killed. Officers approached the school bus and asked him to open up the door. He fumbled with the bus door and repeated to officers that he was not armed.

Officers eventually forced the bus door open, which caused McArthur to panic, the video shows. He started to speed away as one Fayetteville police officer grabbed onto the door and jumped into the bus.

After a bit of wrestling, the officer convinced the man to pull over and open the door. McArthur was not able to stop the bus, so the officer jumped on top of him to put the bus in park and then forced him out of the vehicle.

Fayetteville officer jumps ontop of school bus thief

Even though officers pointed their guns at the school bus — and would have been justified to use deadly force, according to officials — they did not fire. Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins praised her officers for their caution and said they made the right decision to diffuse the situation without bullets.

McArthur was charged with common law robbery, second-degree kidnapping and possession of a stolen good. He was being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center on a $30,000 secure bond.

Ennis Wright, sheriff of Cumberland County, said that the theft could have had deadly consequences.

“Traffic is very heavy in the morning, during that time,” Wright said. “It’s a good thing law enforcement acted quickly …They did what they were trained to do.

This post was originally published on this site

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