February 2, 2007
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---A North Augusta bus driver is in critical condition after getting shot this morning.
Police say 69-year-old Booker McKenney confessed to shooting 55-year-old Beryl Kinsey around 6:45 this morning, before her morning route.
Police say the suspect was already on the victim's bus when she pulled out of the lot, and he shot her about 50 yards away as she was heading out to pick up children.
McKenney, also a bus driver, is now locked up. Police say he shot Kinsey four times: twice on the right arm and twice in the torso.
All of this happened as Anna Robinson's daughter was waiting to catch the bus.
"It's always scary to know that someone got shot, that's a scary thing, and to know it's so close to home...that's even worse," Anna said.
It happened at McKenzie Street and Crestlyn, just minutes from Julia's home and seconds from the school. North Augusta Public Safety Chief Lee Wetherington says it happened as Kinsey was headed to her first stop of the morning.
"No children were involved, none were threatened, none were in any danger," Chief Wetherington said. "This was not an in-school shooting."
"There were no kids involved at all as witnesses or victims," he added.
Wetherington says the 911 call came from another bus driver, who found the victim slumped over her steering wheel. Just hours later, police traced a call from the suspect to someone at the school and made the arrest.
That's relieving news for the parents who watched the morning's crime scene in shock.
"You always think of it as being somewhere else and not close to where you live," Anna said. She told News 12 she plans to drive her daughter to school for a while.
Police arrested the suspect in Johnston, South Carolina. They say the two bus drivers were romantically involved.
Beryl Kinsey is in critical condition at MCG.
This news is very sad for the family and for neighbors who tell us how much Kinsey loves her job. She has spent more than a decade as a bus driver, and as Julia Thomas' neighbor.
"I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it," Julia said. "She was such a nice person."
Julia says Kinsey loves picking students up for school, which she was on her way to do when the shooting happened.
"She was a nice person, and I'm sorry that it happened, and I hope she recovers."