Man Accused of Boarding Elementary School Bus and Stabbing Driver to Death in Front of 35 Children 

Richard Lenhart had just picked up elementary school students when he was stabbed

Richard Lenhart
Richard Lenhart. Photo: Facebook

A Washington state man is accused of fatally stabbing a beloved school bus driver in front of 35 children for no apparent reason.

Joshua Davis, 34, is behind bars in Franklin County Jail, accused of the Sept. 24 murder of 72-year-old Richard Lenhart, the Pasco Police Department said in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.

According to authorities, Lenhart had just picked up about 35 students from Longfellow Elementary School when Davis approached the school bus as it was pulling out of the bus loop.

"The bus driver opened the doors, presumably to see what the man wanted, and the man stepped in, empty-handed, to ask if the bus went to Road 100," the press release states. "On an active street in the middle of the afternoon, in view of others, opening the door to see what the man wanted would not normally be considered a risky action."

But when Lenhart told Davis the bus was not going to Road 100, Davis allegedly pulled out a knife and began to stab the 72-year-old.

During the attack, Lenhart took his foot off the brake, crashing the bus in the school parking lot. The children on board witnessed the attack but were not physically injured.

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Lenhart succumbed to his injuries after being treated at the scene and transported to a nearby hospital.

Davis, meanwhile, allegedly fled the scene in a truck he had parked along the road moments before the attack. He eventually returned to the scene and was taken into custody.

A motive for the stabbing remains unknown.

"The suspect did not need transportation to Road 100," the press release states. "Davis had driven to the scene in a private vehicle, had parked nearby, and approached the area of the school on foot."

It remains unclear whether the two men knew each other prior to the attack.

"There are some aspects of this tragedy we may never have complete answers to," Police Chief Ken Roske said, KWTX reports.

Members of the community have created a small memorial for Lenhart outside the school, with bouquets of flowers.

"My heart is broken for the Pasco School District (PSD) community after the loss of one of their own last week," Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said in a statement. "Richard Lenhart was a beloved member of the PSD community for many years, and my heart goes out to his family, colleagues, and students as they navigate this immense loss."

Attorney information for Davis was not available Friday. He remains behind bars on a $1,000,000 bond.

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