USA Today NetworkColin Atagi and Jesse Marx, The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun
Published 2:45 p.m. ET Nov. 1, 2017
Police help escort students to a nearby restroom as they wait to be released to parents after a man barricaded himself in a clbadroom at Castle View Elementary School in Riverside, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.(Photo: Watchara Phomicinda, The (Riverside, Calif.) Press-Enterprise via AP)
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Authorities fatally shot a parent who took a 70-year-old teacher hostage and barricaded himself with her inside a California elementary school for seven hours Tuesday, a police spokesman said.
Luvelle Kennon, 27, of Riverside, Calif., died, Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback confirmed after being asked about his condition. However, no additional details were available.
The standoff ended after SWAT members set off flash grenades, entered the clbadroom and rescued the teacher, who was identified by school officials as Linda Montgomery.
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Police said Kennon was taken to an area hospital, where he later died. Authorities said they were trying to determine the motive and what happened inside Castle View Elementary School, as well as whether Montgomery taught Kennon’s daughter, who is in first grade.
During an evening news conference Tuesday, Railsback said Montgomery was safe, but declined to provide much detail. He noted that Kennon forced his way through the school’s office and punched another man, who had attempted to stop him, in the face.
By evening, police were investigating not only the steps leading up to the standoff, but why an officer shot Kennon.
“We just ask everyone (to) give our detectives time to sort this thing out,” Railsback said. “There’s a lot that happened today.”
Maria Ortiz consoles her fifth-grade daughter, Crystal Godinez, after she was released from evacuation at Castle View Elementary School in Riverside, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. (Watchara Phomicinda/via AP) ORG XMIT: CARIE101 (Photo: Watchara Phomicinda, The (Riverside, Calif.) Press-Enterprise via AP)
In a statement after the standoff ended, David Hansen, superintendent of the Riverside Unified School District, thanked police and other emergency personnel, vowing “to review and enhance our security measures.”
“We are certainly dedicated to providing a welcoming and safe place for all students and staff,” Hansen added.
Students were having lunch when the incident began, around 11:15 a.m., and none were in the clbadroom at the time, said district spokesman Justin Grayson. The school was locked down and students were evacuated to a nearby park. They were later turned over to their parents.
Grayson identified the man who attempted to stop the parent as a substitute teacher and said he’s related to one of the school’s staff members. Grayson said the school had a designated security officer and “he was here within moments of the incident happening.”
The school will be closed for the rest of the week.
Two people claiming to be Kennon’s relatives arrived at the school in an apparent attempt to help. They said the man was suffering a “breakdown” and had a first-grade daughter at the school.
It’s still unclear whether Kennon was armed and police are looking at items he brought with him, including a backpack. At one point in the standoff, white smoke was seen coming out of the clbadroom where he and the teacher were barricaded, but it eventually dissipated.
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“It didn’t seem like anything toxic,” Railsback said.
This is not the first time an unauthorized adult has gained access to a clbadroom in a Southern California elementary school.
In April, a man told office workers at a San Bernardino school that he needed to see his estranged wife, who worked there as a teacher.
In that incident at North Park Elementary School, Cedric Anderson fatally shot his wife, Karen Elaine Smith, before turning his gun on himself.
Two boys were hit by gunfire in the clbadroom shooting and one of them died.
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