CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bus driver says he was scared when he saw a student approach him with a loaded gun Monday, and he credits God with helping him get the student to surrender the weapon.

Evans Okoduwa has been a school bus driver for less than a year.

On Monday afternoon, a Northeast Middle School student approached Okoduwa on the bus and tried to force him to drive to another location.

A student approached me with a gun in his hand. ... I looked at his face and I noticed he was serious and I saw he had a gun in his hand, Okoduwa told reporters Tuesday.

Okoduwa said he stopped the bus and talked with the student for several minutes.

I spoke to him, calmed him down, asked him, 'What's going on? Is everything OK?' After a while, he released the gun into my hands, Okoduwa said. I had my hand on his hand and he released the gun into my hands.

Eight other students were on the bus at the time. No one was injured, but Okoduwa said the other students were obviously frightened.

They were scared. ... I had to calm them down so that they didn't get him agitated, Okoduwa said.

The bus driver said the student didn't explain why he had the weapon or why he didn't want to get off at his regular bus stop.

He did not discuss his plans with me, Okoduwa said. He wasn't crying but there was definitely a look that meant he wasn't playing either.

Okoduwa said he said a prayer before asking the student to give up the gun.

I got very scared because I thought he was immediately going to use it on me, he said. But after he stopped and I begun to try to get in a conversation with him, I was a little calmer. I said a little prayer in my heart and I got a clear mind after that. ... Mostly, I attribute it to God. Because I feel if it wasn't for His help things would have gone differently on that bus.

The student is charged with eight counts of kidnapping and two counts of weapons possession.

The boy told police that his father was killed in a robbery three years ago. Officials say the child has gotten counseling since his father's death.

He's being held at a juvenile detention center.

Read or Share this story: