Parent barricades self, other person in California classroom

RIVERSIDE, Calif.  — A parent walked into a Southern California elementary school Tuesday, assaulted a staff member who tried to make him sign in at the front office and has been holding a teacher hostage for several hours, police said.

Riverside Police were called to the Castle View Elementary School around 11 a.m. Tuesday for a report of a disturbance involving a parent, said Officer Ryan Railsback, a police spokesman. When the officers arrived, they found the parent barricaded inside a classroom and he refused to come out, he said.

The man, whose name hasn’t been released, was involved “in some type of altercation” and assaulted a school staffer who tried to make him sign in at the office, Railsback said. The man then took a teacher hostage inside a classroom but it wasn’t clear if she was already in the classroom or if he pulled her into the room, Railsback said.

The children were at lunch and were not in the classroom at the time, said Justin Grayson, a spokesman for the Riverside Unified School District.

Police declined to say if they’ve been able to speak with the man since he took the teacher hostage. The suspect, who police only described as a black man, was “not responding to our commands for him to come out,” Railsback said.

The condition of the teacher also wasn’t known, he said.

“We are doing everything we can to safely and peacefully resolve this situation,” Railsback said at an afternoon news conference.

School officials said all students were accounted for after the shooting, were safely evacuated and most have been reunited with their parents at a nearby park.