Intruder on school campus leads to modified lockdown


Multiple Authors

School resource officer Keisha Edwards, far left, discusses the lockdown situation with other officers and district administrators. Photo by Kat Sarafianos.
Updated on Nov. 18, 2016 at 4:20 p.m.
RBHS was placed on modified lockdown for approximately 20 minutes today at around 11:23 a.m. The lockdown occurred after a male intruder who was not an RBHS student came to speak to an RBHS student, according to principal Dr. Jennifer Rukstad.
The suspect and the student were in a relationship, but after the conversation between the two did not go well, the intruder entered the building and refused to leave. Dr. Rukstad declined to comment on the age or race of the suspect.
“He was in the building and he didn’t want to leave the building,” Dr. Rukstad said. “Ultimately, administrators were with him the entire time he was in the building, trying to convince him to leave the building but he was not willing to do that. He was verbally agitated, but he was not physically violent at that time.”
Dr. Rukstad said the intruder was not yelling but was talking with administrators and teachers and was “defiant in his message.” He was completely unarmed except for a screwdriver in his back pocket, which was not used as a weapon when he was inside the school. Administrators ensured that the intruder stayed away from classrooms, Dr. Rukstad said.
Assistant principal Dr. Tim Baker was the first administrator to reach the suspect. Dr. Baker was seen with blood on his sleeves as the intruder had suffered previous injuries on his arms, which were bleeding.
Dr. Rukstad was unsure about how these injuries were sustained.
Student resource officer Keisha Edwards was not in the building at the time, but was quickly contacted and came to the building. Officer Edwards declined to comment for the story.
“When [Officer Edwards] asked [the suspect] to leave the building and he didn’t, she gave him a few warnings. Then she tells him she would put him in cuffs, and he tried to become violent with the other people in the group and with Officer Edwards,” Rukstad said. “They did use mace because he was violent. He was put into cuffs and was arrested.”
Junior Raegan Inman had left her second hour Journalism: Yearbook class and was near the commons when the incident started. 
“I was in the hallway going to get quotes [for the yearbook] and I saw [Dr. Tim] Baker running and then the office ladies told me to run into the office and hide in this room,” Inman said. “Baker came in like 20 minutes later with … blood all over him. I asked what happened, and he said [it was] a minor incident.”
Sophomore Adi Farris was in the media center at the time of the lockdown.
“I just saw a bunch of people coming into the media center and teachers told us to be quiet and to sit down,” Farris said. “I think [the school] could have done a better job of telling us what was going on. I was really confused and scared. I thought there could have been a shooter. They should have just told us what was happening.”
While Dr. Rukstad recognizes many teachers and students were concerned about how little information administrators released on the situation, she said there was little time to send out an email as the incident occurred in a very short period of time.
“[The suspect] was out of the building within five minutes from the time he was cuffed and [the rest of the time] was just blowing the air out. [We closed] off the commons for just a little while because the mace — I wasn’t right there when it happened — but I came on it and I immediately started coughing,” Dr. Rukstad. “It was very strong for a little while and we couldn’t allow students [there]. After the fact I was trying to get back to send an email because I couldn’t get as much information over the intercom as I could through an email. I got stopped [because] we had reporters in the front, so I had to deal with the reporter’s first, so there was a longer than I would have liked delay for [sending] that email out to teachers. That was frustrating to them as well, I’m sure.”
Dr. Rukstad said although administrators worked with the district security coordinator John White in decision making, it was ultimately her decision to lock classroom doors and move students students in the commons outside.
“Our protocol is to call [John White] as soon as we can. I called when we found out Officer Edward was outside the building because if she had been in the building, it probably would have ended a lot faster,” Dr. Rukstad said. “We realized we’re going to have to basically stall this guy or talk him out. We were calmly talking with him. With the little information [White] had he said, ‘You have got to lock that place down]. At that point we had already basically contained him.”
Because students and teachers were unsure of the situation, however, different interpretations of the situation were delivered throughout the school. Some students believed the suspect was armed with a knife, others thought he was in possession of a bomb. Certain teachers barricaded their doors while others continued teaching.
Despite the speculation from students and the ambiguity of the situation while it was happening, she said the incident in itself was over very quickly.
The district called [the incident] a lockdown. That’s not really what happened. We tried to take care of immediate safety of anyone around. Then the district says ‘The lockdown is over’ which really throws people off because they didn’t even know they were under a lockdown,” Dr. Rukstad. “I called it a modified lockdown because they were always contained — it’s not like he was walking through the hallways and we were watching him on camera, which is what we do in an ALICE drill … Ultimately, what was the incident became an incident and ended within about a 10 second period.”
By Ji-Ho Lee and Grace Vance