College athlete arrested in school bus BB gun shooting

A college athlete was arrested Wednesday and charged with shooting a BB gun into two school buses on Friday afternoon.

Phillip Smith, 18, of Osceola Co., was charged with 42 counts of aggravated assault after the sheriff didn't buy his excuse, that he was merely "testing" a BB gun he kept in the car for protection.

Two buses were hit, with Phillips telling deputies he only realized the second one had been hit when he saw its brake lights turn on, yet he kept going on Route 17/92 in Davenport.

"Don't you always test your firearm driving down the road shooting out the window?" asked Sheriff Grady Judd, sarcastically. "We know good and well what happened."

Smith's arrest capped a five-day search, which was boosted by an anonymous tip that led deputies to Warner College in Lake Wales.

Last Friday, Sheriff's deputies showed bus video of a silver Lexus passing by when the BBs hit.

Deputies found the BB gun, and Phillips.

Phillips is a freshman and scholarship holder on the school's basketball team.

At least, he used to be.

"As a private institution, we reserve the right to dismiss a student at any time, for any reason," said Warner University president Dr. Gregory Hall.

Smith is facing three charges of shooting into an occupied vehicle and 42 charges of aggravated assault, one for every child and adult on the two buses.

Judd points out that one window next to a student shattered, and that a driver's side window was blown out as well.

"The driver didn't lose control when the window blasted out next to her, and roll that bus over and kill a lot of children."

Judd says a community member will receive $1,000 for supplying the tip that led deputies to the car.

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