Brother says knife-wielding man who barged onto school bus isn’t a drug user

SAN DIEGO -- A man accused of barging onto a school bus full of children carrying two knives was a no-show at his first scheduled court appearance Wednesday, but the man's brother spoke to FOX 5 outside the courthouse.

The brother of 37-year-old Matthew D. Barker told FOX 5 that Matthew was not a drug user, but that he might have been on "something" during the bus incident, and that the family is hoping for answers when a toxicology report from his arrest is released.

The East County man was scheduled for an arraignment Wednesday, but court officials said the proceedings were delayed for "health-related" issues.

The scary incident happened last Friday morning, when Barker is accused of carrying two knives as he forced his way onto a school bus that was taking students to Campo Elementary School in rural East County.

Deputies received calls about the attack 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 Barker, without incident. Deputies suspect he 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.