Minnesota man fires at school bus after traffic accident, police say

A motorist told authorities he feared for his safety when he opened fire on a school bus driver after an accident in Minneapolis, according to court papers.

Kenneth W. Lilly, 31, who works as a security guard, struck the bus driver in the side of his head and in the left arm Tuesday on Interstate 35 in downtown Minneapolis, officials said. The bus driver is expected to survive, according to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

An 8-year-old Minneapolis public school girl aboard the bus was unharmed, Arradondo said.

Lilly, of St. Paul, was taken into custody immediately after the incident in the slow, snowy afternoon commute. He was charged Thursday with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, according to court papers. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted of the top charge.

According to the probable cause statement, Lilly was captured on video retreating to a safe spot before walking back to the front of the bus to start shooting.

“The filing of the complaint tells you that we do not believe there was a self-defense claim based upon the evidence we have received so far,” Chief Deputy Hennepin County Attorney David Brown told reporters.

Lilly is scheduled to appear in court on Friday, according to Brown. It was not immediately clear if Lilly had an attorney.

Lilly’s car and the bus had apparently collided as the bus driver tried to merge onto the interstate, the probable cause statement said. A traffic camera showed Lilly’s car was two cars ahead of the bus, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.

Lilly, who stopped in the roadway, walked toward the passenger door of the bus and tried to board it, the bus driver told police.

The bus driver told Lilly he couldn’t let him on because the child was on board, according to authorities.

Video footage shows Lilly walking to the front driver’s side corner of the bus as it appeared to slowly pull into traffic, the probable cause statement said. Lilly pulled out his 9mm semiautomatic handgun from a holster, and walked back to the front of the bus, where he fired through the windshield, the probable cause statement said.

Lilly, who was in uniform, called 911, and he continued to pace back and forth in front of the bus until a Minnesota State Trooper arrived, court papers said.

Five discharged cartridges were recovered from the scene, according to court papers.

“It is just horrific,” Brown said.

The bus driver is a contractor who was driving a Minneapolis Public Schools route when the shooting occurred, a district spokesman said in an email.

Lilly has been an armed security guard with State-Wide Protective Agency, based in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, for the past 2½ years, company president and CEO Troy Nadeau said in an interview Thursday night.

“We never had an issue with him. He was a good guard, I don’t know what happened. He did his job. This is out of his character,” Nadeau said. “I would have never thought of this for him in a million years. He was always on time and never missed a shift.”

Lilly was scheduled to work on the day of the shooting, according to Nadeau.