A man with a sledgehammer tried to get into a Long Beach school. He was stopped, then he died. What happened?

Aerial view of McKinley Elementary School in Long Beach.
An investigation is underway after a man armed with a sledgehammer died at McKinley Elementary School in Long Beach after a group of men stopped him in the campus parking lot.

Long Beach police were investigating Wednesday why a sledgehammer-carrying man died after trying to get into a local elementary school.

Police said they received a call shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday about a home invasion robbery at the 6700 block of Orizaba Avenue, near the 91 Freeway.

By the time police arrived, the man who made the call was carrying a sledgehammer and had scaled an outer fence at McKinley Elementary School, a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade campus located half a mile away, and had reached a parking lot.

That’s when a group of unidentified men pulled down the person as he attempted to climb a second fence that led inside the campus, according to police. School was still in session, with a final dismissal set for 3:10 p.m.

The men detained the person and he was turned over to police. When police arrived to cuff the man, he was deemed “unresponsive.” They provided medical care until the Long Beach Fire Department arrived.

Long Beach Fire spokesperson Brian Fisk said department personnel arrived at 2:39 p.m. and determined the man was dead. Police have not released his name or age.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death, while police are conducting their investigation.


Long Beach Police redirected all questions to a statement released Tuesday, but noted more details regarding the incident would be “forthcoming.” The Long Beach Unified School District also did not respond to a call or email.