- An off-duty MA National Guard member tailed a Florida tour bus thinking it was carrying migrants.
- He later confronted the driver and 37 senior citizens onboard, the Cape Cod Times reported.
- The incident comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis sent 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
An off-duty Massachusetts Army National Guard member tailed a Florida tour bus and confronted its senior citizen passengers, mistaking them for more migrants being sent to the state from Florida, the Cape Cod Times reported Tuesday.
The incident comes on the heels of a political stunt by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chartering two planes to send 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The state’s governor Charlie Baker said the migrants have since been moved to a military base shelter in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The off-duty service member pursued the tour bus for at least 10 miles to their hotel in East Falmouth, later confronting the bus driver, Michael Vaughn, and 37 senior citizens aboard.
“He thought there were immigrants on the bus,” Vaughn, the owner of Tallahassee-based transportation company Mikes Limousine, told the Cape Cod Times. “He was totally wrong.”
Vaughn told the local news outlet that the service member “was literally five feet off my bumper” as he tailed the vehicle, even when he tried slowing down and changing lanes.
In livestream footage posted to the service member’s Facebook obtained by the Cape Cod Times, he captures part of the aggressive pursuit. Insider has not independently verified the footage, which is now deleted on the social media platform.
“Look at this,” he is heard saying in the video, per the Cape Cod Times. “Tallahassee, Florida. A busload. Look at this. I’m following it all the way to the end. DeSantis bringing the border to your place.”
“I saw it coming over the bridge, I’m going to follow it,” he continued. “I was supposed to turn it off and go home, but here we go.”
Falmouth Police Department Det. Christopher Bartolomei later wrote in a police report that it appeared that the service member was acting strangely and “something seemed very off with him.”
“He was not making sense and he attempted to control the conversation and talked about him trying to get someone from Afghanistan to the United States,” according to the report, per the Cape Cod Times. “The way he talked it made it sound like he was connected somehow with the migrants on the base.”
A representative with the Falmouth Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In a statement to Insider, Col. Mark Kalin, a director at the Massachusetts Army National Guard, said the National Guard “considers the conduct of this soldier to be inappropriate and inconsistent with our military values.”
“We are currently working to ensure our service member is evaluated and receives any services he may need, while also reviewing appropriate disciplinary actions,” Kalin said. “The incident is currently under investigation and no further information is available at this time.”
Video viewed by the Cape Cod Times showed Hoffman attempting to board the bus to see the passengers on board.
“I have every right as a U.S citizen to see what’s going on,” the service member is heard saying. “You know what I’m talking about.”
Vaughn told the outlet he told the service member that the bus was carrying “old senior citizens. You’re going to give them a heart attack.”
The service member replied: “If it’s 80-year-old people, I will walk away. Do you not see what’s gone on on Martha’s Vineyard?”
Once aboard the bus, he is heard telling passengers that he served in Afghanistan and expressed frustration in his attempts to get someone from there to the US, so “don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about,” he said.
Once the service member realized that the passengers onboard were tourists, he apologized and exited the vehicle, saying: “I am sorry. I didn’t respect you guys. I am sorry.”
Officers with the Falmouth Police Department responded to the incident in the hotel parking lot.