“My heart is broken”: WA Superintendent reacts to Pasco school bus attack

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Ted S. Warren

Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal stands next to a U.S. flag as he waits to speak at a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Earlier, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state is expanding its vaccine mandate to include all public, charter and private school teachers and staff, as well as those working at the state's colleges and universities. The governor also expanded the statewide indoor mask mandate in place for non-vaccinated individuals to include those who are vaccinated.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction—Chris Reykdal—released a statement in response to the tragic murder of Richard Lenhart; a Pasco school bus driver who was killed in a sudden attack last Friday.

Superintendent Reykdal offered the following comments in a Medium post to the public:

My heart is broken for the Pasco School District (PSD) community after the loss of one of their own last week. 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.

We have been in communication with Superintendent Whitney, who is working closely with the Pasco Police Department to understand what led to this unbelievable tragedy. Superintendent Whitney and her team acted quickly to provide counselors and other supports for Richard’s colleagues and students.

It is a testament to Richard and the PSD Transportation Department’s consistent safety training that the students on the bus knew to exit through the back and get to safety. Richard served his community with kindness and integrity for many years, and I know all of Washington joins me in sending love and support to the PSD family.

IN-DEPTH: Pasco police detail deadly attack on school bus driver; no motive known

Lenhart was a 72-year-old man who worked for several years as a bus driver in the Tri-Cities. Authorities do not have any information to suggest that Lenhart had any relationship with the man who killed him.

 A 34-year-old Richland resident named Joshua D. Davis was arrested at the scene of the attack just after the incident occurred. He was booked to the Franklin County Jail on suspicion of murder to the first degree.

While no students were harmed or targeted in the sudden attack, Lenhart was transported to an area hospital, where he died from injuries he sustained in the attack.

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