Man accused of 2021 South Carolina school bus hijacking found not guilty by reason of insanity


A man who was an Army trainee in South Carolina in 2021 was found not guilty last week by reason of insanity in relation to alleged school bus hijacking with 18 elementary school students on board

Giovan Collazo, now 25, was accused of getting on a bus bound for Columbia Elementary School on May 6, 2021, with an unloaded gun and telling the driver that he did not want to hurt him, but wanted him to take him to nearby town.

Collazo was examined by two doctors who determined he was unable to tell good from evil at the time of the incident, Fifth Judicial Circuit Deputy Solicitor Daniel Goldberg said Wednesday.

According to the prosecutor, the judge ruled that he was innocent by reason of insanity.

“He will be sent to a Department of Mental Health facility for treatment, but may later appear in court to determine where he should be placed for the foreseeable future,” Goldberg said.

Collazo was initially charged with 19 counts of kidnapping, armed robbery, auto theft, pointing and display, use of a weapon during a violent crime, and illegal possession of a weapon on school property.

Jovan Collazo in a 2021 image released by the Richland County Sheriff's Department, South Carolina.

Public defender Collazo Fielding Pringle said that following last Thursday’s decision, “we are looking forward to seeing him get the treatment he needs.”

In 2021, brig. Gene. Milford Beagle Jr. said Collazo, then a trainee, escaped from Fort Jackson by jumping over a fence during a personal hygiene session shortly before breakfast. According to the then commander of the base, Collazo did not have access to ammunition.

A video released at the time by the sheriff’s department shows a man named Collazo running up to the bus driver, handing him a rifle and telling him to close the door and drive.

The man led 18 children to the front of the bus, where they began asking questions about whether he intended to harm them or the driver, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. According to the sheriff, Collazo got upset and forced the children and the driver to get off the bus.

The video, edited by the sheriff’s department, shows the man driving the bus and then opening the door and getting out.

Lott said the man drove for several miles and “had difficulty driving the bus” before abandoning him with a rifle inside. The man then wandered around the area trying to get “rice and clothes,” Lott said.

Collazo was eventually spotted near I-77, where he was arrested. Lott said the incident lasted about an hour and no one was hurt, according to a press release.

As of Wednesday, Collazo, from New Jersey, was still listed as being held at the county jail. online entries.

In an email, Lesley Ann Sally, media relations officer for the Fort Jackson garrison, told CNN that the army is “aware of the verdict in Pvt. Collazo and will take appropriate action as soon as it is fully considered in the SC judiciary.”

CNN asked for clarification on Collazo’s military status and received no response.

Fort Jackson, located in the Columbia area, is an army base. main production center for basic combat trainingreported on his website.