A parent who allegedly took a teacher hostage at a Riverside elementary school Tuesday afternoon, prompting an evacuation and hourslong standoff, was shot by police and has since died, authorities said.
The man was taken from the scene on a stretcher and put in an ambulance about 6 p.m. Tuesday after officers entered the classroom where the hostage was held, and an officer-involved shooting occurred, Riverside police said. He later died from his injuries, police said.
After being in fear of the victim’s safety all day, police said Linda Montgomery, 70, was safe after the incident but taken to a hospital as a precaution. It is unclear what led up to the police shooting, but police also used a flash bang to distract the suspect, officials said.
The incident was originally reported about 11:12 a.m. at Castle View Elementary School, 6201 Shaker Drive, according to Riverside Police Department spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback.
School has been canceled for the rest of the week, officials said.
Police responded to the school for a disturbance involving the parent. He apparently did not follow protocol, forced himself into the school, became upset and barricaded himself inside the classroom with the teacher, Railsback said. It is unclear why the parent, who has not been identified, was upset and if the teacher was already in the classroom or was pulled in by the parent.
Police are investigating if the parent had previous contact with the teacher and what might have triggered Tuesday’s incident.
Police repeatedly referred to the man as a “parent” but did not refer to him as a “father.”
Montgomery is listed on the school’s website as a first grade teacher. Her daughter and granddaughter told reporters at the scene that she had been teaching at the school for decades.
After the incident was over, they said Montgomery appeared to OK, but “traumatized.”
Ariana Montgomery, the granddaughter, described her grandmother as being sweet and “so good” with parents.
“I couldn’t even imagining this ever happening to her,” Ariana said.
It’s not clear if the parent had a weapon, but some type of smoke has been spotted inside a classroom, Railsback said. Police will also investigate a bag that the man apparently had with him when the incident started.
Another staff member or parent may have gotten into a physical altercation with the parent. That person, who Railsback called a “hero” for trying to intervene, was taken to hospital after apparently being hit in the face by the suspect.
The incident occurred during the lunch hour and students and staff were evacuated off-campus, to nearby Castle View Park, a district spokesman said.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed students being led onto waiting school buses. No one was evacuated from a classroom, Riverside Unified School District Spokesman Justin Grayson told reporters during a news conference.
Front office staff “followed procedure to the T and we’re proud of them for what they did,” Grayson said.
Aerial video from the scene showed an armored vehicle and hostage negotiators and SWAT officers at the school.
Family members were called to the school to help convince the parent to release the hostage.
Jennifer Sandoval, the parent of a 6th grader at the school, was working at another school when she started hearing what was going on at Castle View.
“It was scary,” she said, adding that she was relieved when she was reunited with her son.
“I was just scared, I was trembling with fear,” student Giselle Gomez said.
Other students said they were crying or saw others crying.
Jennifer Thang contributed to this story.