BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Baldwin County School officials were alarmed after two unrelated incidents involving guns being discharged at or near school busses January 22 and January 23. There has been an arrest already in one of the cases, but the other is still under investigation.
"One day a pellet hits a bus," said Terry Willhite with the Baldwin County School System. "The next day, before the crack of dawn, at 6:05, before there's any students on the bus, somebody pulls up beside the bus driver and fires a handgun in the air twice."
Willhite said that busses have always been targets for kids throwing rocks and other pranks, but these two latest incidents have given them cause for concern.
The first incident happened in Foley after school Tuesday afternoon. A dozen students from Foley Middle School were on a bus ride home when authorities said 19-year-old Mendrell Dwayne Porter shot the bus with a BB gun.
The school bus was en route from Foley Middle School to Magnolia School along a section of Bodenhammer Street when authorities said Porter pointed the gun at the school bus and shot.
"But he said he was just shooting at a bird and the bus just happened to be passing by," Captain Steve Arthur with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office said. "Based on our investigation and information, it doesn't appear that way. It looks as if he purposely shot at the bus."
Porter is in jail for shooting a dangerous missile into a vehicle which is a class C felony. Nobody was hurt, and the bus wasn't damaged.
The second incident happened on the Perdido Beach Bridge just after 6 a.m. Wednesday. Orange Beach Police said an occupant of a pickup truck pulled alongside a school bus and fired a handgun into the air twice. That incident is still under investigation.
School officials want to assure parents that there is no reason to worry and that bus riders are safe.
"There are unmarked cars that follow school busses," noted Willhite. "There are marked cars that follow school busses. They are very visible and when something like this happens, law enforcement is there to protect us, but they're also there to make sure the bad guys go to jail."
If you have any information about the incident in Orange Beach, you're asked to call the Orange Beach Police Department.
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