Police identify Pasco school bus driver stabbed, killed in front of elementary students

Authorities have identified a school bus driver in eastern Washington who was stabbed on Friday in front of a busload of elementary children.

Richard Lenhart, 72, was picking up students at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasco as classes were letting out at 3:10 p.m. when a man boarded his bus and stabbed him, The Tri-City Herald reported.

Police have not said why they believe the man got on the bus.

After the attack, Lenhart apparently lost control of the bus, drove over a curb and a sidewalk before hitting some bushes and a tree at the school.

Lenhart, of Kennewick, died at a hospital. An autopsy is being scheduled, according to Franklin County Coroner Curtis McGary.

Lenhart had been a driver for the Pasco district for six years.

The assailant stayed at the school until police arrived and cooperated with authorities during his arrest, police Capt. Bill Parramore said Friday. His name hasn’t been released.

None of the children on the bus were hurt.

The Pasco School District offered support over the weekend for students and teachers and sent counselors to the school Monday. Pasco police also stationed officers near the school.

On Monday morning, teachers and other school employees showed support for their nearly 100 bus drivers, waving homemade signs with hearts and words of encouragement as they arrived with kids.

School officials have started discussions about safety, but are focused on getting life back to normal at Longfellow and at the transportation department, Shane Edinger, the district’s director of public affairs said.

"Right now, the focus is on the well-being of all of our employees and students," he said. "We’ll work on that next piece when the time is appropriate."

Pasco is located in Franklin County.

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