GULFPORT, FL (RNN) – A school bus driver can be heard on surveillance footage pleading for help from a dispatcher as he witnessed a 13-year-old viciously attacked by three older teens.
"You've got to get somebody here – quick, quick, quick," John Moody said. "They are about to beat this boy to death."
The victim came away from the July 9 beating with two black eyes and a fractured hand, according to WFLA. Authorities charged the three suspects, all 15-year-old boys, with aggravated battery and one of them with unarmed robbery.
In the video taken from the front of the school bus's interior, a passenger in a gray shirt can be seen throwing the first punch at the victim, who was seated. Two others then follow the offender's lead and throw multiple punches.
The victim drops below the seat and out of sight. The attackers then start to kick and stomp repeatedly.
In an interview with WFLA following the incident, Moody said he was afraid to step in.
"Three boys just jumped on him, started pounding on him," he said. "I did all I can. It was like I was in shock; I was petrified."
The subsequent investigation revealed a possible motive: One of the suspects tried to sell drugs to the victim earlier in the day. The victim reported it to school officials.
Gulfport police chief Robert Vincent criticized Moody for not getting involved, even after the attack ended and the offenders ran away.
"There was clearly an opportunity for him to intervene and/or check on the welfare of the children, or child in this case," Vincent said to WFLA. "He didn't make any effort to do so."
The bus driver would not face any charges, according to WFLA.
Some counties forbid bus drivers from physically intervening; Pinellas County, FL, leaves discretion to the driver, but he was not required to take action.
Moody retired two weeks after the attack.
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