Thu, Nov 02, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Police shoot man, rescue teacher in California standoff

AP, RIVERSIDE, California

A man who barged into his child’s southern California elementary school and allegedly held a 70-year-old teacher hostage for nearly seven hours was on Tuesday shot by police who forced their way into a classroom and rescued her.

A SWAT team entered the room at Castle View Elementary School, east of Los Angeles, shortly before 6pm, Officer Ryan Railsback said.

Negotiators had been talking to the man, but had not heard from the woman.

“We, of course, had been fearing for the hostage’s life all day,” Railsback said, but the decision to hurl distracting flash-bang grenades and storm the classroom was made because “the fear for her safety was increasing.”

Students were at lunch and were not in the classroom when the man barricaded himself inside with the teacher, Riverside Unified School District spokesman Justin Grayson said.

The man was seen being wheeled away on a gurney into an ambulance. There was no immediate word on his condition.

The teacher was sent to a hospital for examination, but did not appear to be injured, Railsback said.

Family members and the school identified her as first-grade instructor Linda Montgomery, who had taught at the school for about 20 years.

“She’s really good with kids,” her granddaughter, Ariana Montgomery, told KABC-TV. “She’s really helpful and sweet.”

It was not clear what prompted the man to enter the school shortly before 11:15am and barricade himself with the teacher, and it was not immediately known whether he had a weapon, although he did bring a backpack onto campus, Railsback said.

The suspect had suffered an “emotional breakdown” that morning, his uncle Carl Jackson told the TV station.

“He’s not dangerous,” Jackson said before the standoff ended. “It’s just a matter of getting in there and talking to him, because we can talk to him.”

The man had barged into the school office, where he failed to sign in, and was later seen grabbing the teacher.

The husband of another teacher was on campus and tried to intervene, but the suspect punched him in the face, knocking him down and breaking his nose, Railsback said.

Students were initially kept inside their classrooms before being ordered to evacuate to a local park, walking down the street in a long line.

All students were safely accounted for, but school was canceled for the rest of the week, the school district said.

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