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Knife-wielding man forces way onto East County school bus

SAN DIEGO -- No one was hurt in a scary incident Friday morning when a man carrying two knives forced his way onto a school bus taking students to Campo Elementary School in rural East County.

Deputies received calls about the incident around 8:30 a.m. near the 400 block of Jeb Stuart Road, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's officials say it all started when the driver spotted a man running after the bus as it pulled away from a stop. The driver thought the man may have been a student's father, so they stopped the vehicle and opened their doors.

But when the man started to make his way up the bus steps, ignoring the driver's commands to stop, the driver stepped in his way to keep him from reaching the children. A struggle broke out as the attacker tried to push his way past the driver, and the man pulled out a knife. A student's grandmother and other passersby hopped on board to help the driver wrestle the man's weapon away and pull him off the bus.

Eventually deputies arrived and arrested the man, later identified as 37-year-old Matthew D. Barker, without incident. Deputies suspect Barker was under the influence of drugs during the incident. A second knife was recovered at the scene.

No students were harmed and the adults who fought off the suspect were uninjured.

Deputies say an older student -- 6th grader Jesus Jimenez -- helped usher the rest of the kids to the back of the bus, calling for help and eventually escaping out an emergency door. Jesus' mother Dania spoke exclusively with FOX 5. She said she was proud of her son's quick thinking, but not surprised: "He's always been like that -- he's super kind."

Students were taken to school on another bus, and the school said counseling support systems were in place for students.