EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 22, 2012

No shooter, but police vow arrests

Students in bus incident say people 'going crazy'

HAVERHILL — For one group of students who rode a school bus to Haverhill High School yesterday morning, it was just another day.

There was little chatter about incidents on Thursday in which two school buses were shot at by BBs, breaking a passenger window of each vehicle. Some heard about the incidents, but appeared unfazed by what happened. Some were in their own world, listening to music through ear buds, while a few tried to get in a quick nap before they reached the high school.

Meanwhile, police in marked and unmarked cruisers quietly patrolled school bus routes across the city, looking to protect children and perhaps even catch a BB gun shooter in the act of pointing a gun at a bus.

“The marked presence was to act as a deterrent as well as hopefully calm any fears that the students or their families may have had,” police Lt. Robert Pistone said of the regular cruisers that traveled with buses. “The unmarked units monitored all bus routes for suspicious vehicles, and were thoroughly distributed enough that if we did have a repeat event, we would have had a unit close enough to respond, and possibly catch whoever is doing this.

“In many cases we also had marked and unmarked cruisers follow the buses on their routes,” Pistone said.

Police did not catch a shooter and there were no other incidents, but they vowed to do all they can to arrest whoever shot the windows, nearly injuring teens and young children.

Police are reviewing a video taken from one of the buses that shows a vehicle driving past it around the time it was shot. They said they hope to develop leads from it and said it is possible the shots came from the vehicle.

Yesterday morning, Sheila Belmer drove the high school bus that was shot Thursday. It was a lighter crowd than expected, as many of the students who were on her bus Thursday either took the day off or found another way to get to school. As Belmer drove to the high school just before 7 a.m., she recounted the brief but frightening incident that happened the day before.

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