The driver of a school bus with one student aboard was shot while behind the wheel in an apparent road rage incident Tuesday south of downtown Minneapolis and the suspected gunman was quickly arrested, authorities said.
The 78-year-old victim was shot sometime after 2 p.m. while in a small bus on Interstate 35W near Chicago Avenue. The person was “alert and conscious” while being taken by emergency medical personnel from the scene ahead of surgery at HCMC for noncritical injuries, said police spokesman John Elder, who called the incident “mind-numbing” and said it “raises immense concern on so many levels.”
The bus was eventually towed amid traffic already slowed by a snowstorm.
Elder said the incident unfolded when several 911 callers reported a person outside of a vehicle pointing a gun at the school bus, and that shots were being fired.
“Preliminary investigation is that there was a motor vehicle crash that occurred and an altercation or dispute of some sort happened resulting in gunfire,” Elder said.
Elder said State Patrol officers arrived within a minute and arrested the suspected shooter. A gun, believed to be a semiautomatic weapon, was taken from him.
An image from a Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic camera showed one State Patrol trooper pointing a gun at a person standing near an open door of a black sedan that was stopped ahead of the bus, while another trooper stands behind the person. The State Patrol said on emergency dispatch audio in the moments after the shooting that the gunman appeared to be wearing a security guard’s uniform.
Authorities identified the suspect as Kenneth W. Lilly, 31. He was booked at Hennepin County jail Tuesday night, where he’s awaiting formal charges of second-degree assault.
Lilly, of St. Paul, does not appear to have a criminal record in Minnesota beyond minor traffic violations. Lilly’s mother said he works as a security guard.
The Minneapolis School District student on the bus was unharmed, said district spokesman Dirk Tedmon.
The elementary school student was seated at the back of the bus at the time and has been reunited with family, Elder said.
Tedmon declined to say where the student attended school. He said the student will be receiving support from the district, adding that the district website has resources to help students and families process traumatic events such as this one.
Students who need further support should reach out to school staff members, he said.