emergency vehicle
Photo by John Schreiber.

A Riverside elementary school was evacuated Tuesday when an upset parent barged onto the campus, assaulted a man near the office then took a first-grade teacher hostage in a classroom for nearly seven hours before police stormed the room and shot the suspect, who later died at a hospital.

It was unclear if the suspect had a weapon. The teacher he took hostage was not injured, police said.

Castle View Elementary School, located on Shaker Drive near Century Avenue in the Canyon Crest area of the city, was placed on lockdown after the man stormed onto the campus around 11:15 a.m. A substitute teacher confronted the irritated man, but he wound up being punched in the face by the suspect.

The injured man was taken to Riverside Community Hospital for treatment of what witnesses called a bloody or broken nose.

Meanwhile, the unidentified assailant barricaded himself in a classroom with a first-grade teacher, identified by her daughter as Linda Montgomery, who is in her 70s and has been teaching at the school for at least 20 years.

“She loves teaching — she’s still teaching,” Michelle Montgomery told ABC7. “She loves teaching.”

The campus was initially placed on lockdown, then evacuated.

Students and staff were moved to nearby Castle View Park for their safety. Riverside Unified School District officials said all students had been accounted for and were released to their parents at the park.

No information was available regarding the reasons why the man was enraged.

People who claimed to be relatives of the suspect told ABC7 the man, who has a first-grade student at the school, had a “breakdown” of some type Tuesday morning. His family members said they took away the man’s car keys, but he still managed to make his way to the campus.

The standoff continued until shortly before 6 p.m., when police stormed into the classroom and wound up shooting the suspect, Riverside police PIO Ryan Railsback said. Initial reports indicated police may have used flash-bang grenades as a diversion before bursting inside.

Railsback said he did not know how many times the suspect was shot.

Michelle Montgomery told NBC4 that her mother was not injured, only shaken. Railsback said the woman was taken to a hospital to be checked out as a precautionary measure.

He said it was unclear what prompted police to open fire.

“We’ve got officers that had to take action and they did it very well, and they saved the victim,” he said.

Justin Grayson, spokesman for Riverside Unified School District, said Castle View Elementary will remain closed for the rest of the week, but the district will make counselors available for any students or staff affected by the standoff.

–City News Service

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