Police kill parent who held teacher hostage at elementary school, ending tense standoff

Riverside Police press conference after suspect was shot.


SWAT officers on Tuesday evening swarmed a Riverside elementary school classroom and shot a parent who had taken a teacher hostage, ending an hours-long standoff.

The parent, identified as Luvelle Kennon, 27, of Riverside died later at a hospital, said Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback.

The teacher, Linda Montgomery, sustained some scrapes and abrasions when she was grabbed and pulled into an empty classroom, Railsback said.


During the seven-hour standoff, crisis negotiators made contact with the man but never heard from Montgomery, which is why authorities decided to storm into the room about 6 p.m. It’s unclear whether the man was armed but witnesses did not report seeing any weapons.

Officials canceled classes at the elementary school for the rest of the week.

The incident began shortly before 11:15 a.m. when the man forced his way past staff in the main office at Castle View Elementary School, Riverside Unified spokesman Justin Grayson said.

Fifth-grader Myla Grissom, 11, receives a hug from her father, Calvin Grissom, at the evacuation release point at Castle View Park in Riverside.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times )

The parent, who has a daughter in first grade, did not appear to follow the school district’s safety procedures and check in with the front desk, Railsback said.

A male teacher confronted the parent, who responded by hitting that teacher in the face, Railsback said. A witness told KABC that the teacher’s face was bloodied and his nose was broken. The teacher was treated at a hospital, police said.

The parent then took Montgomery hostage inside an empty classroom, police said, though it’s not clear why.


Police evacuated all students from the campus and began releasing them to their parents after 1 p.m. All the students were accounted for, Grayson said.

A parent took a teacher hostage inside Castle View Elementary School in Riverside, school district officials said Tuesday.

Ariana Montgomery, granddaughter of teacher Linda Montgomery, is escorted from the scene while wearing Halloween makeup.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times )

Officials said Montgomery was in good condition.

Riverside police said a substitute teacher was hurt “after being struck by the suspect while attempting to intervene and prevent him from taking the other teacher hostage. This substitute teacher sustained a broken nose and other facial injuries.”

Authorities are still trying to determine the exact motive for the parent’s actions.

Counselors will be available Wednesday for students who need help.

The school itself will be closed for the rest of the week.

A school secretary told the Press-Enterprise that the parent burst into the campus on Tuesday and was very angry.


“When I first saw him I knew it was probably the most upset parent I’ve had,” Stephanie Zolfaghari told the paper, adding that when he moved onto the campus she called for a lockdown.

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1:20 p.m.: Updated with comments from secretary.

8:15 a.m.: Updated with school statement.

Wednesday 6:50 a.m.: This article was updated with information on teacher and a substitute teacher.

11:25 p.m.: This article was updated with the parent’s name.

10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with information that the man shot by police has died.

7 p.m.: This article was updated with information from a news conference.

6:10 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that the standoff has ended.

6:05 p.m. This article was updated throughout.

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the beginning of the incident.

2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with information on student releases.

1:40 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the hostage.

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with details about the campus evacuation.

This article was originally published at 12:55 p.m.