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Man on a mission to find Jesus arrested after police said he tried to steal a bus full of schoolchildren

Man on a mission to find Jesus arrested after police said he tried to steal a bus full of schoolchildren
Christopher Martinez was booked into a Fresno jail on suspicion of carjacking and kidnapping. (Fresno Police Department)

A man was arrested Monday evening in Fresno after he tried to hijack a bus full of elementary school students, police said.

Forty-one students from Reagan Elementary School were returning from a science camp in Oakhurst and stopped at a gas station in Fresno about 6:30 p.m. so the children could use the restroom. While the bus was stopped, police said, Christopher Martinez, 47, stepped inside and shouted to the driver that he needed “to go to the mission … Jesus is coming!”

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“I’m taking over the bus. Get out of your seat. I need to take the bus to San Gabriel Mission,” Martinez said, according to Fresno police spokesman Mark Hudson.

While a teacher was escorting some children to and from the bus, Martinez grabbed the bus driver by the collar and pulled her from her seat, saying he needed to take the kids with him, Hudson said.

The driver snatched the keys from the ignition, setting off an alarm on the bus, and shouted at the man to get off, police said.

With lights flashing and the alarm sounding, the driver continued shouting at the man to leave and told him the bus would not move while the alarm was on. He walked to the back of the bus and returned to the front, but he did not touch any of the children seated inside, Hudson said.

The teacher soon joined the driver in demanding that Martinez leave the bus, and then a gas station clerk stepped in and, in a calm voice, asked Martinez to exit the vehicle, Hudson said. Martinez obeyed and walked toward the nearby gas station as police arrived and took him into custody.

Martinez was booked into a Fresno jail on suspicion of attempted carjacking and attempted kidnapping and is being held on $27,500 bail, according to jail records.

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