Teen Shot After Crashing Stolen Bus and Charging at Officers With Knife on Walt Whitman Bridge, Police Say

A stolen school bus crashes along the Walt Whitman Bridge after an earlier pursuit in South Jersey. The boy then wound up getting shot during an altercation with police.

What to Know

  • A teen boy was shot by DRPA officers on the Walt Whitman Bridge after he allegedly stole a school bus and crashed it.
  • The 17-year-old teen allegedly charged at the officers while armed with a knife before they opened fire.
  • The teen was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition. Police continue to investigate the incident.

A teen boy who stole a school bus and then crashed it on the Walt Whitman Bridge was shot by police early Monday after charging at the officers while armed with a knife, investigators said.

The ordeal began around midnight when the 17-year-old stole a school bus from the lot of the H.A. DeHart & Son dealership in West Deptford Township, New Jersey, police said.

Police found a bicycle and a car with registration that matched the teen's address at the lot where the bus was parked, investigators said. An officer observed the teen as he drove the bus down Crown Point Road toward Interstate 295 North, according to investigators.

"My officer noticed that it didn't have a license plate on there," West Deptford Police Chief Sean McKenna said. "Thought that was odd for that time of night."

The officer tried to pull the teen over but he sped off, driving between 80 and 90 mph, police said. The teen then stopped near Exit 21 as if he was complying with the traffic stop, investigators said.

"My officer went to get out to confront the driver and the bus pulled away, started driving a high rate of speed again and driving erratically," McKenna said.


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West Deptford police called off the pursuit for safety concerns then alerted the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) that he was coming toward the bridge, according to McKenna.

The teen continued onto the eastbound lanes of the Walt Whitman Bridge before crashing into a side guardrail around 12:40 a.m., police said. DRPA police officers then responded to the scene.

The teen, who was wearing a mask and armed with a knife, then exited the bus, investigators said. He allegedly ignored the officers' commands and then charged at them while holding the knife. The officers then fired multiple shots, striking the teen.

The teen was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where he was listed in stable condition and expected to survive, police said. His family is also with him.

The officers who shot the teen were also taken to the hospital for an evaluation and later released. 

Philadelphia police are assisting with the investigation. Officials said it was only the second time in DRPA's history in which officers fired a weapon.

For hours, only one lane was open on the Walt Whitman Bridge going into New Jersey due to the crash and shooting. Investigators seemed to be focused on the bus which crashed against the outer guardrail in the eastbound lanes of the span connecting South Philadelphia and South Jersey. There were also evidence markers on lanes of the bridge.

The side of the bus says "HOLCOMB" on it. A.J. Holcomb confirmed his company was in the process of purchasing the bus, which was due to be delivered to his South Jersey-based company from H.A. DeHart this week after it passed inspection.

The incident caused a traffic problem through the morning commute. The average speed eastbound slowed to about less than 7 mph, First Alert Traffic reporter Matt DeLucia said.

A police shooting on the eastbound Walt Whitman Bridge left all but one lane heading into New Jersey closed Monday morning.

Drivers were warned to expect major delays and to use the Commodore Barry, Ben Franklin or Betsy Ross bridges to avoid the slowdown.

All lanes on the Walt Whitman finally reopened around 8:30 a.m.

On Tuesday, Chief McKenna told NBC10 police signed juvenile petitions on the teen suspect for burglary of the bus, motor vehicle theft and eluding.

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