HOLMES COUNTY - Friday afternoon, June 30, a call came into the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center that a subject had been shot and the suspect had stolen a bus.
It was soon determined that a white male, identified as James Irvin Bourgeois went to a residence on Highway 177 in the Bethlehem Community asking for a ride. When the home owner denied him, Bourgeois hit the owner in the head with a claw hammer several times.
Bourgeois took off running to the residence next door and attempted to enter this residence; the door was locked.Bourgeois took the hammer and knocked the glass out of the front door and another window in the front of the house. The home owner confronted Bourgeois and he took off running toward Bethlehem School. An off-duty trooper was riding by and saw what was going on and tried to detain Bourgeois, however he made it to Bethlehem School where an armed civilian attempted to hold him at gunpoint. Bourgeois jumped on a bus that was at the school. Bourgeois took the bus and began traveling down Highway 160 toward Highway 79, several units from the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol got behind the bus and attempted to stop it. The driver of the bus turned south on Highway 79 and refused to stop. He continued down Highway 79, driving erratically, traveling head-on with oncoming vehicles and traveling in wrong lanes.Bourgeois left the roadway several times attempting to strike several deputies. Due to the fact that the bus was headed toward Bonifay and could possibly endanger the lives of many citizens and his disregard for lives, deputies got around the bus and positioned themselves to fire several shots at the tires to disable it. This continued until one of the tires came off causing Bourgeois to lose control and hit the woods just before getting into town. Bourgeois was taken into custody after he fought with deputies. He faces numerous felony charges.This was a very serious incident that could have turned out very bad. There were no serious injuries to anyone involved.Sheriff Tate would like to thank the Bonifay Police Department, the Florida Highway Patrol, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Bonifay Fire Department, State Fire Marshall Office, the State Attorney’s Office and Holmes County EMS.
HOLMES COUNTY - It isn't everyday that a law enforcement officer shoots the tires out of a school bus, but that is exactly what happened late Friday morning after a failed robbery attempt in the Bethlehem community led to Holmes County deputies going on a wild ride.
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate confirms a man attempted to steal from a Bethlehem residence and fled after the homeowner fired shots.
The man, whose name has not yet been released, ran to Bethlehem School, where he is reported to have stolen a Holmes County School District bus and began driving toward Bonifay.
Holmes County deputies were able to shoot the bus tires, and the suspect wrecked just north of Bonifay. The suspect is now in custody.
This story is still developing, and officers are still on scene. Check back for more details as they develop.