On Tuesday, a California SWAT team was forced to enter an elementary school classroom where a 70-year-old teacher was being held hostage. A student’s father entered the school in the afternoon and held the teacher captive for almost seven hours.
Luvelle Kennon, 27, entered Castle View Elementary School in Riverside, California while the children were on their lunch hour. Kennon’s daughter is a first-grader at Castle View, but it remains unclear if the woman he held hostage, Linda Montgomery, was her teacher.
When Kennon entered the school, a male substitute teacher approached him after he noticed the man did not sign in like guests were required to do. After asking Kennon if he could help him, the substitute was punched in the face and suffered a broken nose. Local police were called shortly after.
Kennon then found Montgomery and dragged her into an empty classroom. After police arrived, the school was immediately put on lockdown. The students were evacuated to a nearby park and were released to their parents around 1 p.m.
Crisis negotiators took over and began speaking with Kennon, and according to police, the suspect never verified if Montgomery was safe. At one point, police noticed smoke coming from the room, which dissipated shortly after. It appeared to be nontoxic, and police believed it was not from an explosive device.
KABC reports SWAT entered after six hours with flash-bang grenades around 5:50 p.m. Officers then shot Kennon, who later died at a hospital. For now, it’s unclear why officers shot Kennon, and it’s still being investigated. The father entered the school with a backpack, but he did not have any visible weapons.
Montgomery was also taken to the hospital but only suffered minor injuries and scrapes.
Family members of Kennon reportedly took his keys earlier in the morning as they claim he was having a breakdown. The family insists he was not dangerous and was a “good kid.” Kennon’s uncle, Carl Jackson, told KABC the deceased didn’t have any access to weapons and believed he was unarmed.
The elementary school is closed for the week, and they are providing crisis counselors to students and staff. The shooting and Kennon’s motive are still under investigation.
[Featured Image by Scott Cornell/Shutterstock]