Off-Duty Cop Arrested For Bringing Gun To Kid's School On Lockdown

An off-duty Riverside Police officer was arrested at an elementary school on Tuesday.

Menifee, CA – An off-duty Riverside Police Department (RPD) officer was arrested at an elementary school on Tuesday, after police received a call that a man was at the school with a gun.

Officer Mark Delarosa, 35, was charged with being in possession of a weapon on school grounds, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) said in a statement.

Assistant superintendent Trevor Painton said that Mesa View Elementary School and three other schools in the district were placed on lockdown on Tuesday afternoon after a burglary was reported in the area, the Menifee 24/7 reported.

Officer Delarosa responded to the school after the lockdown was announced because he had a child who attended there.

Another parent, Autumn Shumway, said she came to the school to pick up her sick child when she saw Officer Delarosa running through the parking lot with a gun in-hand.

She said he came “sprinting toward” her before she had the opportunity to park her vehicle, and asked to use her cell phone.

"He was running from the front of the office and he had a gun in his hand," Shumway said to Menifee 24/7. "He shouted to me to stop the car and roll down my window. I recognized him as being a parent of a student at the school, so I determined him not to be a threat to me. He used my phone to call 911 and gave them a complete description of himself and that he had a gun. He identified himself as an off-duty police officer and that he was going to proceed onto campus."

After Officer Delarosa handed her phone back, Shumway said she remained on the line with the 911 operator and watched as the officer as he went towards the school. She explained that she suspected he hopped a fence that led to the rear school grounds.

"I assume he got there early as well, saw the front doors locked or knew about the lockdown from listening to a scanner or something," Shumway said to Menifee 24/7. "I don't think the precautionary lockdown was that big a deal. My kids have been on precautionary lockdowns when a bank was robbed five miles away. If he wouldn't have brought out a gun, it wouldn't have made the lockdown turn crazy. That escalated it a hundred fold.”

Officer Delarosa was quickly spotted by a police helicopter and officers on the school grounds.

"I heard them shout at him two, maybe three times,” Shumway told Menifee 24/7. “That's the weird thing in question. If he's a cop, why didn't he surrender right away? The only thing I can think is that he went into cop mode when he knew about a lockdown and wanted to get in there quick."

Officer Delarosa was taken into custody, and no one was injured during the incident, the RCSO said.

Investigation into the incident is ongoing.

According to Menifee 24/7, some parents expressed frustration that the school did not immediately notify them about the lockdown via text. A group of parents who were waiting in line to pick up their children were told about the lockdown at 1:45 p.m., and others received a brief letter just prior to their students’ 2:20 p.m. dismissal.

A phone message was not sent out by the school until 4:30 p.m.

Do you think that the off-duty police officer should have been arrested in this situation? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

Comments (21)
No. 1-21
HankT
HankT

I don't think he should have been running around with his weapon drawn. The fact that he was a first responder for the Police dept. Was a Blessing had there been an actual emergency! It's possible his DAD instincts out weighed his police training. I think a suspension is due here.

DocRyder
DocRyder

It's California and he should have known better. nHe deserves to be arrested just for living there.

Scurvydog
Scurvydog

If there had been an active shooter, would he have been arrested? He was the first cop on scene by all accounts...Apparently the Sheriff takes his jurisdiction seriously, and doesn't want any help from the outside.

Szrudy3
Szrudy3

I was born and lived in California all my life And before all the smart people showed up, it was a decent place to live

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

You mean ... the elites of Hollywood? I left CA almost 20 years ago and I never want to live there again.

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

You would think all the decent people (which includes LEOs not motivated by politics) would have all left CA by now - let the state implode by its own crushing weight of taxes being paid by ... no one.

lds719
lds719

An off duty officer in a tee shirt and shorts and displaying no badge or clothing that identifies him as an LEO only complicates these serious situations. This is how cops get shot by cops.

DrJeffreyP
DrJeffreyP

Should he have been arrested? Absolutely not! Were his actions the smartest they could have been, not at all. This should go away. How have we gotten to the place where we arrest a copper for being a copper and a Dad. As the social media types note, "smh."

lds719
lds719

I definitely don't advocate his arrest. More than likely the charges will be dropped and he will be disciplined within his department. As a side note, I haven't seen the word "copper" being used for a long time. Might you be English?

DavidPeoria
DavidPeoria

Good intentions but bad decision.

Katarina
Katarina

Not enough information to really form an opinion. Why would police arrest him if he called in a description of himself and what he was doing there? Did someone at the school get their panties in a wad because they didn't know? They certainly didn't worry that the parents didn't know what was happening when they failed to send out texts. Or was it media feeling they had a story that was a non-story, but one they could profit from?

Cclaxton0
Cclaxton0

The gun should have stayed in the holster until a lethal situation was present. That would have fixed this.

ForestJohn
ForestJohn

If he would have engaged and active shooter he would have been a hero. With all the protocol regarding response to school incidents, response times to the actual problem have risen. I command his actions and question if I may have also done the same thing if my child/children were in that school.

Gramercy
Gramercy

How about a call from his department? Seems he was there to do what could be done. I sanction the actions he showed. If my son or daughter was in the school, I would have been proud to go to bat for him!!!

sfurbish
sfurbish

That's exactly what I was thinking. Running through parking lots and jumping fences with your weapon drawn are not great tactics absent an immediate and identifiable deadly threat. I still wouldn't have charged him though - let his department handle any require discipline.

j9r168
j9r168

Being there in street clothes probably not the best idea especially waving a gun around. Should have known better, have him write on the blackboard 100 times "I will not come on school grounds while off duty waving a gun around". Enough said. I am a supporter of doing away with all gun free zones. All they are are Killing fields and anyone looking to do harm will pick gun free zones. Teachers should be allowed to take gun safety and concealed carry classes and be permitted to protect themselves and the children.

cspcapt
cspcapt

CA justice? Isn't he acting within his authority to apprehend a possible suspect?

mtarte
mtarte

He is exempt from the gun free school laws: Here who is exempt: (l) This section does not apply to a duly appointed peace officer as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830 ) of Title 3 of Part 2, a full-time paid peace officer of another state or the federal government who is carrying out official duties while in California, any person summoned by any of these officers to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace while he or she is actually engaged in assisting the officer, a member of the military forces of this state or of the United States who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or an armored vehicle guard, engaged in the performance of his or her duties, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 7582.1 of the Business and Professions Code .

(m) This section does not apply to a security guard authorized to carry a loaded firearm pursuant to Article 4 (commencing with Section 26000 ) of Chapter 3 of Division 5 of Title 4 of Part 6.

(n) This section does not apply to an existing shooting range at a public or private school or university or college campus.

(o) This section does not apply to an honorably retired peace officer authorized to carry a concealed or loaded firearm pursuant to any of the following:

(1) Article 2 (commencing with Section 25450 ) of Chapter 2 of Division 5 of Title 4 of Part 6.

(2)  Section 25650 .

(3)  Sections 25900 to 25910 , inclusive.

(4)  Section 26020 .

(5) Paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 26300.

(p) This section does not apply to a peace officer appointed pursuant to Section 830.6 who is authorized to carry a firearm by the appointing agency.

Aaron57
Aaron57

Detained? Sure.
Arrested? Probably not.

DuigiudUSCS
DuigiudUSCS

He’s a sword L.E. He did what he was trained to do but didn’t use good tactics. He was in plain clothes and I assume had no way of identifying himself. Maybe he could have pined his badge on his shirt on wore it around his neck on a chain. We don’t know if he identified himself to the dispatcher either, but I think that he should have kept the weapon in the holster until confronted with a threat.

Tim_H
Tim_H

Uh, too little information here to make a decision. Sounds a little sketchy on good judgement at first glance but definitely need more facts.