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Oops! Massachusetts Guardsman livestreams hot pursuit of tour bus he believed were migrants sent from Florida

The National Guardsman was erroneously convinced the bus was sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to relocate more migrants to Martha's Vineyard, and streamed the entire pursuit on Facebook Live

September 28, 2022 3:27pm

Updated: September 29, 2022 2:46pm

An off-duty Massachusetts National Guard officer aggressively pursued and harassed a tour bus of senior citizens he believed was carrying migrants.

Lt. Col. Christopher Hoffman, 51, of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, recorded his Sept. 19 pursuit of the bus on Facebook Live, reports the Cape Cod Times. He believed it contained migrants sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who flew 50 migrants to the state on Sept. 14, because of a Tallahasee, Fla., sign on its side.

"He was literally five feet off my bumper," said Michael Vaughn, the bus driver and owner of Mike’s Limousine, a transportation company based out of Tallahassee. "He wouldn't leave me."

Vaughn was driving 37 senior citizens up from Memphis, Tennessee, for a tour of Cape Cod. He said Hoffman had his high beams on the entire time and stuck to the bus despite slowing down and changing lanes to try and let him pass.

"He harassed us to death," Vaughn told the Cape Cod Times. "Everybody was scared to death."

The Facebook Live video, which was deleted by Hoffman but obtained by the Times, showed the guardsman driving behind and ahead of the bus at various times.

"Look at this," he says in the video. "Tallahassee, Florida. A busload. Look at this. I'm following it all the way to the end. DeSantis bringing the border to your place."

After both vehicles arrived at the hotel, Vaughn said he pulled out his phone and got out of the bus to confront Hoffman, who was also recording. He told the guardsman, “These are old senior citizens. You’re going to give them a heart attack.”

Hoffman, who is not in his uniform, said he wanted to “see what’s going on.”

"I have every right as a U.S citizen to see what's going on," the off-duty officer added. "You know what I'm talking about."

At some point Hoffman boarded the bus, where he was accosted by the senior tourists.

A video from the bus shows Hoffman saying, “I served in Afghanistan, and I'm trying to get an Afghan, and I can't get him into the country. So don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about.” After appearing to realize the bus does not contain migrants, he apologizes and leaves.

Officers with the Falmouth Police Department arrived and interviewed Hoffman. He has not been charged.

The Massachusetts National Guard confirmed that Hoffman works for them full-time, served in Afghanistan and is stationed at Joint Base Cape Cod – the same base the Martha’s Vineyard migrants were moved to.

“The Massachusetts National Guard considers the conduct of this soldier to be inappropriate and inconsistent with our military values," Col. Mark Kalin, Commander, Massachusetts Army National Guard, said in a statement to the Cape Cod Times. They also promised to evaluate his actions and receives any appropriate help or disciplinary actions.