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School Bus in Crosshairs of Paintball Gun

A school-bus driver's window was hit by a paintball on the afternoon of Friday, March 26, alarming parents and police, who were slow to respond to the incident.

The bus was taking gifted and talented students from Keene Mill Elementary School in Springfield to locations in the Braddock District. When the bus was traveling along Guinea Road near Pierrpont and Lakepointe Drives in Fairfax, a paintball struck the driver's side window. The bus stopped and waited for another bus to transfer the seven students, leaving the driver and her child, who was traveling in the bus, to wait for police. They waited for an hour but left when no officer showed up.

No injuries or witnesses were reported, said Sgt. Jeff Gossett, Fairfax County Police spokesperson.

"It was coded in as a just-occurred event," Gossett said. "No one was hurt on the bus, and there was no suspects. At four o'clock on Friday, a non-injury report, they're going to hold it based on priorities."

By the time the police did arrive on the scene, the bus was gone. The driver cleaned up the paint and left the scene. Gossett said some officers from the West Springfield District Station, whose coverage area includes Guinea Road, were busy with school-crossing duty.

"There were 18 school crossings the officers had to cover," Gossett said.

ISABEL ALVAREZ lives in the New Lakepointe townhouses along that stretch of Guinea Road. Although she had not seen anybody in her neighborhood with a paintball gun before, she was alarmed at the report involving the school bus. She has two daughters that go to nearby schools, but not Keene Mill Elementary.

"After the sniper incident, you don't know what it could be," Alvarez said. "Paintball, BB gun, they can hurt someone. It's scary."

Josiah Fernandez lives in the neighborhood as well, in a house that backs up to the wooded area the paintball was thought to have come from.

"I've seen beer cans, bottles of liquor out there," Fernandez said. "I'm sure anything can happen."

Mary Shaw, Fairfax County School spokesperson, was aware of the incident.

"The principal's always notified when something like this happens," Shaw said.

"The officer's going to conduct an investigation," Gossett said.

Keene Mill principal Mona Brimberg chose not to comment on the incident because police were investigating it.

According to the Fairfax County Police, there was no damage to the school bus. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (703) 691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 800-673-2777.