Riverside, CA - A 70-year-old female teacher at Castle View Elementary School was held hostage for six hours by a parent on Tuesday.
The parent of a first grader, who had barricaded himself inside a classroom with the teacher, was shot and killed by police. His name has not been released.
Hostage negotiators tried to de-escalate the situation for hours before police made entry to the classroom, and rescued Linda Montgomery.
Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback said the decision to enter the classroom finally had to be made.
"We've been in fear of the victim's safety the entire day,” he said.
Officer Railsback said the parent had gotten into a confrontation with another teacher, when he first arrived on campus, because he hadn’t followed the school district's safety procedures and checked in with the front desk.
After assaulting the first teacher, the parent went into a classroom and took Montgomery hostage, barricading himself inside the classroom, police said.
Police have not revealed whether Montgomery actually taught the suspect’s child at the school.
The suspect refused to communicate with police during the standoff.
Family members, who identified themselves as the uncle and grandfather of the parent, arrived at the school and told police that the suspect had had a “breakdown” and “relapse.”
A SWAT team stormed the classroom after negotiations failed, using flashbangs to distract the suspect, police said.
The suspect was shot by officers, and taken to a local hospital, where he died.
Montgomery was not injured, but was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
"I can't imagine what she's gone through. She’s going to suffer some emotional trauma, but we're glad she is alive and she is safe now," Officer Railsback said.
No students were present inside the classroom during the incident. The entire student body was evacuated to a nearby park when the standoff began.
Justin Grayson, spokesman for the Riverside Unified School District, said that all students were accounted for, and no students were injured.
Nobody realized it was a serious situation until they saw the live footage from the helicopters on their phones, he said.
Classes were cancelled for the rest of the week, and counselors will be made available to anyone who needs the support at another nearby school, Grayson said.
Police have not released details on whether the suspect was armed.
Riverside Unified School District Superintendent David Hansen said that the situation would help keep the school safer in the future.
"As unfortunate as this incident is, it is something that we will learn from, and we will continue to review and enhance our security measures,” Hansen said.