Meridian Elementary School, 25621 140th Ave. SE, on the East Hill in Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Meridian Elementary School, 25621 140th Ave. SE, on the East Hill in Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Kent Police take man into custody in gun incident near Meridian Elementary

No reason given for arrest; classes remain canceled; school district releases statement

Kent Police took a 26-year-old man into custody Wednesday, Nov. 16 as detectives continue to investigate the incident of a man with a gun at a house near Meridian Elementary School.

“The suspect in this case, a 26-year-old Kent man, was taken into custody at about 4:10 pm today (Wednesday),” according to a police statement, which didn’t release on what charge officers arrested the man. “Additional details will be available later this week.”

Classes at the school were canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 15-16 as the man remained free after he reportedly pointed a gun at a family member and made statements about the school on Monday, Nov. 14, according to police. The school went into lockdown on Nov. 14.

Even with the man in custody, Kent School District officials decided to cancel classes on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 17-18, at Meridian Elementary, 25621 140th Ave. SE, on the East Hill.

“Thank you for your patience and support during these challenging circumstances,” according to a statement Wednesday on the school website.”As of a little after 4 p.m. this afternoon, the suspect has been taken into custody. School will be canceled on Thursday, Nov. 17, and Friday, Nov. 18, to provide support for the mental health and well-being of our staff and students.”

The statement told parents to check their email for details about meals and where to pick up students.

Kent School District posts statement

Kent School District officials posted a statement Wednesday on the district website about the Meridian Elementary lockdown after the man’s arrest.

“On Nov. 14, an man was driving erratically outside of the school building and threatened a staff member,” according to the statement. “KSD School Safety Services and Kent Police were notified. The suspect drove away and later returned driving erratically and continued with verbal threats at families entering the school using a megaphone. At this time, the school was placed in a lockdown.

“Police and KSD Safety Services staff responded quickly. The suspect drove away and then to a house bordering school grounds. Police reported the suspect involved had access to a rifle. Since that time, the police took possession of a firearm and ultimately took him into custody. The school remained in lockdown for the rest of the school day due to ongoing police activity.”

Kent Police in a Nov. 14 statement about the incident didn’t release any details about the man threatening a staff member, driving near the school or making verbal threats at families.

Kent School District officials said they were in close contact with Kent Police monitoring this situation.

“Out of an abundance of caution, school was canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday because the suspect had not been taken into custody yet and was seen multiple times driving in front of Meridian Elementary during the past few days,” according to the statement. “The police made attempts to stop the vehicle and were unsuccessful. State law does not allow police officers to pursue for this situation.”

District officials supported the actions by police.

“The police did everything within the scope of the law to keep everyone safe,” according to the district statement. “We acknowledge the work of Kent Police, which deployed many officers who spent dozens of hours working to resolve this matter. During this time, the suspect was not observed in the vicinity of any other Kent School District school, and for this reason, the district decided not to close other schools.”

District officials said providing a safe learning environment for students and staff is their main concern.

“Social emotional supports will be provided to students to help them transition back to school,” according to the statement.

“We understand the concern and frustration of the families, Meridian staff, and community members impacted by this incident. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging situation.”

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