LEOMINSTER (CBS) — Police arrested a man Wednesday who they say attacked a school van with a machete while children were on board.
Ricardo Morales, 44 of Leominster, was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.
Leominster Police said he was angered because the van pulled into his driveway on Mechanic Street to pick up children who were waiting on the sidewalk.
“He was extremely agitated that the driver was turning around in the common driveway of two homes,” Van Pool Transportation, the company that operated the van, said in a release.
Police got the call Wednesday morning from the bus driver, employed by a private bus company, who said Morales approached the bus with a metal broom and machete, and raised both as if he was going to hit the children.
She told police he hit the bus twice with a pipe on the driver’s side window and the hood, and also hit the passenger compartment with the machete before going back behind the building. The van company said he used a broom.
The building’s manager said Morales was squatting in the building, and was thrown out multiple times in the past.
The mother of one of the students said three kids were on the bus, and that Morales had an issue with the driver.
“The van was moved to a safer location around the corner and waited per order of the police until they could secure a statement,” Van Pool Transportation said.
The company said students had to wait on the bus for a half hour while police spoke to the driver and bus monitor, but that the students were eventually safely taken to their destination–the Center for Applied Behavior in Worcester.
Witnesses identified Morales to police, and they arrested him at his home.
A man who knows Morales said his issue was with the bus driver.
“I guess the bus driver had said something to him the day before and he wanted to confront the bus driver. I’m not sure,” said Ben Rosado.
Morales has previously been arrested on home-invasion charges, and served three years in Bristol County Jail on a weapons conviction. Prosecutors said in a previous case that he is a member of the “Latin Kings” gang.
During the home invasion, Morales is accused of holding a gun to a 5-year-old’s head.
He’s being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing next Thursday.