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5-year-old girl saw gun battle near Richmond school bus

Posted at 4:08 PM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-02 06:54:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- School leaders in Richmond will provide increased security on a bus that carries pre-k students to and from school after the bus was caught in the crossfire in Fairfield Court Tuesday afternoon.

Five-year-old Aaliyah Payne witnessed the gunfire while riding on the bus.

The pre-k student was riding her bus home from school when shots rang out Tuesday as the bus headed up Rosetta Street toward her bus stop on 23rd Street.

"There was two guys shooting at each other," Aaliyah said. "The bus driver was yelling tell us 'everybody duck everybody duck.'"

Aaliyah Payne

Aaliyah Payne

Richmond Police said two men were having a running gun battle and the bus got caught in the middle.

"I thought i was gonna get hurt but I didn't, I was still alive," Aaliyah said.

No bullets hit the bus, but Aaliyah's mom said the Fairfield neighborhood is dangerous.

bus stop

"A child could have died, a few children could have died," , Ebony Witcher said.

Witcher said she would like her little girl's bus route moved.

"Maybe that could make us feel a little safer about taking our kids to school," Witcher said.

Until that happens, Witcher said she planned to take her daughter to school herself to calm her daughter's fears.

Ebony Witcher

Ebony Witcher

"I don't want that to happen again," the worried mother said.

A Richmond Schools spokesperson said they would not change bus route before school ended in two weeks, but there would be additional security presence on the bus for the remainder of the week. The presence will include Richmond Police.

Officials said the increased security will allow police to respond immediately if something like this were to happen again.