A man arrested last week after he allegedly pointed a rifle at an employee of a charter school in West Hollywood has been charged in connection with the incident.
Vahe Armen, 32, was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of having a firearm on school grounds, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Armen was taken into custody last Thursday near the Larchmont Charter School campus in the 1200 block of N. Fairfax Avenue.
The D.A.’s Office alleges Armen pulled into a school dropoff zone around 8:30 a.m. where dozens of students were in the process of starting their day. He’s accused of then pulling out the rifle and pointing it at a school administrator who was directing traffic.
That employee told investigators that she believed the weapon was an “assault-style rifle.”
The school was then placed on lockdown and parents were notified through the school’s emergency alert system.
Armen was found shortly after on the 6800 block of Sunset Boulevard and was taken into custody by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies. Deputies also allegedly located a weapon in Armen’s vehicle, although they did not specify the type.
“In an era plagued by an epidemic of mass shootings at schools across our nation, every parent in America faces an unimaginable fear when they send their children to school,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “It is an unfair burden that no parent should bear.”
The incident also prompted complaints from both parents and school administrators, who said the response time from law enforcement was poor and that nearby schools were not informed of the lockdown happening at Larchmont.
Gascón said the safety and well-being of school children need to be prioritized, adding that students “deserve nothing less than a nurturing environment free from the threat of violence.”
Armen is also facing unrelated charges for elder abuse and witness intimidation, the D.A.’s Office says.
He’s been in custody since and is currently being held on $5 million bail. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of more than seven years in state prison.
He was scheduled to be arraigned in court on Monday.