Police have arrested a woman accused of firing shots at a Gwinnett County Public Schools bus that was carrying children on Monday morning — although it remains unclear why she did it.
Celeste Michele Saunders is accused of firing shots at the school bus while it was driving through a Suwanee area neighborhood at around 7:15 a.m., according to Gwinnett County police. Students on the bus were heading to Riverside Elementary School.
Officers responded to a call about shots having been fired near Highland Gate Circle and Highland Gate Drive and they took Saunders into custody when they arrived. Saunders was charged with four counts of Cruelty to Children in the 1st Degree, five counts of Aggravated Assault and one count each of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of Certain Felonies, and Unauthorized Discharge of a Firearm Near Public Street.
“There is no threat to our local community,” Gwinnett County police said in a statement issued Monday night. “Saunders lived in the neighborhood, and this was an isolated incident.”
The shooting happened in the Highlands at Bridgegate subdivision, which located off Johnson Road. The subdivision is located near Settles Bridge Park, which is located on Johnson Road and is about a mile off of Suwanee Dam Road.
Gwinnett County Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Melissa Laramie said no children were injured and the bus arrived safely at the school.
The bus driver, Patricia Rodriguez, did suffer minor injuries from shattered glass, however, according to police. She was treated at a local hospital.
“We are grateful for the awareness of our driver, the partnership, and the swift investigation of our School Police and Gwinnett County Police, who were able to identify the suspect and take them into custody this morning,” Laramie said. “Most importantly, we are so grateful the GCPS staff and children on the bus arrived safely at school.
“We have an increased presence of officers on site today to ensure all of our students, families, and staff feel safe as we continue to focus on teaching and learning as well as the mental and physical well-being of our students and staff.”
Police said the motive for the shooting is unknown and the investigation is still active.
Anyone who has information about the shooting is asked to call detectives at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers, which lets tipsters remain anonymous, at 404-577-8477. They can also visit www.stopcrimeATL.com.
There is a cash reward offered by Crime Stoppers for information that leads to an arrest and indictment. Tipsters are asked to reference case No. GP220038286.