EAST FALMOUTH, MA – An off-duty Massachusetts Army National Guardsman is facing disciplinary action after he chased a tour bus from Florida filled with senior citizens back to their hotel, at which point he combatively confronted them while under the mistaken belief that they were actually illegal immigrants.
This incident comes after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had chartered two planes to fly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts in what some called a “political stunt.”
Lt. Col. Christopher Hoffman, 51, of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, had reportedly spotted the tour bus while driving home on September 19 and, believing they were migrants being transported to his state by DeSantis, proceeded to follow the bus for over 10 miles to a hotel in East Falmouth.
According to Mike’s Limousine owner and bus driver Michael Vaughn, the National Guardsman “was literally five feet off my bumper” as he tailed the bus. Hoffman streamed a portion of his chase on Facebook Live – which has since been deleted, although a copy was obtained by the Cape Cod Times – which reportedly confirmed the bus driver’s claims of his aggressive driving.
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“Look at this. Tallahassee, Florida. A busload. Look at this. I’m following it all the way to the end. DeSantis bringing the border to your place,” Hoffman could be heard saying in the video, according to the Times. “I saw it coming over the bridge, I’m going to follow it. I was supposed to turn off and go home, but here we go.”
However, the passengers of the bus actually consisted of 37 Floridian senior citizens on a sightseeing tour, according to Vaughn.
“He thought there were immigrants on the bus,” he said. “He was totally wrong.”
Once at the hotel, Hoffman confronted Vaughn and his passengers, attempting to enter the bus; he can be heard on video reviewed by the Cape Cod Times saying, “I have every right as a U.S citizen to see what’s going on. You know what I’m talking about.”
Vaughn claimed that he told the intruder that the bus passengers were, “old senior citizens. You’re going to give them a heart attack.”
“If it’s 80 year-old people, I will walk away,” Hoffman reportedly replied. “Do you not see what’s gone on in Martha’s Vineyard?”
Once aboard the bus he began nonsensically ranting that he had “served in Afghanistan” and that he had been failing in his attempts to get someone from that country back to the U.S. However, once he realized that the passengers were actually tourists, he apologized and exited the bus, saying, “I am sorry. I didn’t respect you guys. I am sorry.”
According to Falmouth Police Department Detective Christopher Bartolomei, officers who responded to the incident said that “something seemed very off” with Hoffman. And in addition to potential legal woes stemming from his actions, he is also in hot water with the National Guard as well.
“The National Guard considers the conduct of this soldier to be inappropriate and inconsistent with our military values,” said Col. Mark Kalin, a director at the Massachusetts Army National Guard, in a statement. “We are currently working to ensure our service member is evaluated and receives any services he may need, while also reviewing appropriate disciplinary actions. The incident is currently under investigation and no further information is available at this time.”