Paul Vernon  /  AP
Jeremy Wink gives his son, Will, a kiss as he takes him to school on Monday at East Franklin Elementary School, part of the Southwestern City School district in Columbus, Ohio.
updated 1/5/2004 12:03:10 PM ET 2004-01-05T17:03:10

Some parents drove students who normally ride the bus as schools in this Columbus suburb reopened Monday after bullet holes found in two buses were linked to a series of sniper shootings.

In the parking lot of East Franklin Elementary School, parents sat in cars and watched their children walk to the front door after a two-week winter break. Extra security guards were on hand.

“I think all these schools should have some people here to protect them. I feel they’re safer with me,” said Amy Stainer, who dropped off her 9-year-old son, Christopher, and 6-year-old daughter, Britani.

School buses fired on before holiday break
South-Western School District canceled classes for its 20,000 students on Dec. 18 and 19, the last days before the break, after two buses were fired on. The district is next to Interstate 270 where many of 18 shootings have happened, including one that killed a woman in November. It remained unclear whether children were on the buses when the shots were fired, because the marks were noticed later.

Bundled in a gray and white coat, 8-year-old Ronnie Loschiavo turned and waved as he walked to the school. His mother, Corinna Loschiavo, watched from her car.

“I always let him ride the bus,” she said. “I just decided to bring him for a while.”

While Bridget Henersby said the shootings are a concern, she said she feels safe dropping off her 5-year-old son, Angus, for school. She said she drove him to school before the shootings as well.

“They have strong security measures. While the children are in the building, I think they’re in good hands,” she said.

Sheriff’s patrols in marked and unmarked vehicles were increased. District administrators said they also were taking additional security measures but would not elaborate.

Authorities urged students, parents, and school personnel to be on guard.

Of the 18 shootings, bullet tests showed seven came from the same gun, although investigators have not disclosed the weapon.

Gail Knisley, 62, was fatally wounded Nov. 25 while riding in a car on I-270. No one else has been injured in the shootings. A $60,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the shooter.

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