19-year-old charged after attacking 12-year-old at Illinois middle school

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) - A 19-year-old man is facing charges after walking into an Illinois middle school this week and attacking a student.

Dontrell Banks, 19, is facing charges after walking into an Illinois middle school this week and attacking a student. (CNN)

Police say on Monday, Dontrell Banks was able to get onto a school bus, walk into Franklin Middle School in Springfield and go to the cafeteria where students wait for the first bell. Police say that's where he grabbed a 12-year-old boy, threw several punches and hit him on top of the head.

In a statement, district officials say the individual "interacted" with a student in the cafeteria, and staff intervened quickly and ensured all students were safe.

"The principal that was on duty noticed right away, that person doesn't belong. Within three minutes, that was taken care of. The student was escorted away so that we could deal with the rest of our school day," superintendent Jennifer Gill said.

According to police reports, Banks was wearing a green Franklin Middle School hoodie. An off-duty officer responded after hearing reports of a fight on his school radio.

Banks told police he hit the student for doing something "vicious" to his little sister, and the student "wasn't going to get away with it."

"We don't really know what the motive was or why that person was doing that, but we do know that they got onto the school bus, and we need to hopefully shore up anything we have in place with school bus drivers drivers knowing the students that are getting on and off," Gill said.

Banks is charged with Aggravated Battery and Criminal Trespassing onto State-Supported Property. The bus driver involved has been removed from service while an investigation takes place.