PD: Man talked way onto school bus where bullets were found

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Image caught on bus video camera. (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.) Image caught on bus video camera. (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.)
Jeremy West booking photos. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Jeremy West booking photos. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

Phoenix police said 29-year-old man was following a student and was able to talk his way onto a school bus, where a student found a fully-loaded handgun magazine Thursday.

Jeremy West, 29, was arrested about 9:30 p.m. Thursday and booked into jail after police received numerous phone calls identifying the suspect from a surveillance video aboard the bus, said Phoenix police Officer James Holmes.

Holmes on Friday morning said that the suspect boarded the bus, walked to the back and sat down. He was able to convince a school bus assistant that he was with a 14-year-old student who had boarded the bus Thursday morning.

Holmes said the student didn't show any signs of anything being wrong, but later told police West approached him near his house the previous day.

Holmes said the man got on the bus near some apartments on Georgia Avenue on Thursday morning and rode it to Simpson Elementary School on 23rd Avenue in the Alhambra School District.

After they arrived at the school, he asked the assistant if she knew of a church nearby and after she told him of one, he immediately got up and left.

Holmes said a 13-year-old student found the 9mm magazine loaded with 15 rounds on the seat where the suspect and the 14-year-old boy had been sitting. The student turned the gun over to the bus assistant, who notified the school, Holmes said.

Many of the students told police they saw what they believed was a gun in his pocket. Holmes said police recovered a weapon that matched the description given by the students.

Holmes said the suspect followed the 14-year-old boy onto the bus. The boy told police the same man approached him near his home on Wednesday asking him if he wanted cigarettes or "a fix." The child told the man to leave him alone and went into his home, Holmes said.

Holmes said police recovered evidence that led to his booking on six felony counts of endangerment, misdemeanor criminal trespass and a misdemeanor charge of a weapon on school property.

"We're lucky that nothing did indeed happen," Holmes said, adding that police were still trying to figure out what motivated West to board the bus with what was believed to be a gun.

The school district had issued no comment through Friday morning.

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