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Man charged with attempted murder after firing at a school bus in Minnesota

Parents often worry about their kids riding the school bus. But waiting for the bus or getting off after school can pose a far greater danger.

MINNEAPOLIS — Kenneth W. Lilly will appear in court Friday to face attempted murder charges after firing at a school bus driver this week in Minnesota.

The 31-year-old told authorities he feared for his life when he opened fire Tuesday on Interstate 35 in downtown Minneapolis, striking the driver in the side of his head and in the left arm.

The bus driver is expected to survive, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said, adding that an 8-year-old school girl aboard the bus was unharmed.

Lilly was charged Thursday with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, according to court records. He could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the top charge.

It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

“The actions of Mr. Lilly were outrageous and it was sheer luck that neither the bus driver nor the little girl were killed,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. “If we can add aggravating circumstances for a longer sentence, should we prove him guilty, we will do so.”

He claimed self-defense

A traffic camera captured Lilly’s car driving two cars ahead of the bus, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.

Lilly’s car and the bus apparently collided as the bus driver tried to merge onto the interstate, according to the statement. He was captured on video retreating to a safe spot before walking back to the front of the bus and shooting, according to the probable cause statement.

The bus driver told police once Lilly approached the school bus, he tried to enter, but the driver wouldn’t let him on because there was a child on board.

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

Video footage shows Lilly walking to the driver’s side corner of the bus as it was pulling on to traffic, according to the probable cause statement.

He walked back to the front of the bus and aimed his 9mm semiautomatic handgun at the windshield, the statement said.

“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.

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

“It is just horrific,” Brown said.

He worked as a security guard

Lilly, in his security guard uniform, called 911 and waited until a Minnesota state trooper arrived, pacing back-and-forth in front of the bus.

Lilly had been working as an armed security guard with Minnesota-based State-Wide Protective Agency for the past 2½ years, company president and CEO Troy Nadeau said Thursday.

“We never had an issue with him,” Nadeau said. “He was a good guard, I don’t know what happened. He did his job. This is out of character.”

“I would have never thought of this for him in a million years. He was always on time and never missed a shift.”

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

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