Police: Teen shot by officers on Walt Whitman Bridge after stealing school bus, officials say

Monday, July 22, 2019
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Police: Teen shot by officers on bridge after stealing school bus. Maggie Kent has more on Action News at 5 p.m. on July 22, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Delaware River Port Authority police officers shot a 17-year-old who they say lunged at them with a knife in the middle of the Walt Whitman Bridge.

"The masked suspect suddenly charged officers with a knife in hand, giving the officers no choice but to discharge their weapons," said John Hanson, the CEO of the DRPA.

The officers encountered the suspect after the stolen school bus he was driving crashed on the right eastbound lanes of the bridge at 12:45 a.m. Monday.

Police say that's when the suspect got out of the vehicle and lunges at them. The teen was hit by officers' bullets, but it's still unclear how many.

The bus company tells Action News the bus hasn't been purchased yet, but it was at a dealership in New Jersey for inspection ahead of the purchase. The bus was stolen from that dealership, the company said.

West Deptford police tell Action News one of its officers spotted the bus out on Route 44 at 11:37 p.m. Sunday night. The officer pulled the bus over, but as he walked towards it, the driver took off.

The officer then alerted the Delaware River Port Authority and New Jersey State Police to be on the lookout for a school bus.

In an open area of the Holcomb bus depot, West Deptford police say there was a parked car registered to the address of the 17-year-old suspect. That's where police believe the bus was stolen.

Delaware River Port Authority Police say this is the second time in the department's history where a service weapon was fired at a suspect. The department is conducting an internal investigation into the shooting, as protocol.

"They are not being disciplined in any way at this time but because there is an investigation going on, they are not on duty," said Hanson.

The Philadelphia Police Department Officer Involved Shooting unit will also oversee the investigation.

The 17-year-old remains at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in stable condition and under arrest.

He is facing charges from the Delaware River Port Authority, which have not been released.

The West Deptford Police are charging him with motor vehicle burglary and theft, eluding police, and reckless endangerment of an officer.