Standoff scares Scott students

14-year-old freshman took pellet gun, knife to school

12/2/2013
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN AND NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
Toledo police remove Louis Stroude from Scott High School after a standoff.  He reportedly took a pellet gun into the school Monday.
Toledo police remove Louis Stroude from Scott High School after a standoff. He reportedly took a pellet gun into the school Monday.

Parents line up outside Scott High after a police standoff with a student who reportedly took a pellet gun into the school.  The parents were permitted to take their students out of school at 11:30 a.m.
Parents line up outside Scott High after a police standoff with a student who reportedly took a pellet gun into the school. The parents were permitted to take their students out of school at 11:30 a.m.

Louis Stroude didn’t have to be in Scott High’s in-school suspension room Monday morning.

A teacher and school security guard told the 14-year-old freshman as much when he came in to the Behavioral Intervention Center carrying his bookbag.

PHOTO GALLERY: Scott High School standoff

“I’m not going anywhere,” the youth reportedly said to officials before he pulled part of a gun out of the bag just before 9:30 a.m.

After more than an hour-long standoff that triggered a school lockdown and classes to be let out early, Toledo SWAT officers took the suspect into custody, carrying him face down out of the school.

Inside his bookbag was a realistic-looking pellet gun and knife, police said.

“I feel bad for the kid,” police Lt. Mark King said. “We don’t like to see that happen to children. He’s only 14. [Toledo Public Schools] did an outstanding job. … We had a very positive outcome, and that’s what we always hope for and that’s what we work for.”

The Stroude youth will appear today in Lucas County juvenile court for a detention hearing, facing charges of making terroristic threats and illegal conveyance of a weapon onto school property.

It was not clear why the Stroude youth thought he should have been attending in-school suspension or, if not, why he wanted to be there.

After the initial confrontation with the Stroude youth, other students in the in-school suspension room were led out, said Kayla Williams, 16, a junior, who was in the classroom.

“I ran to the first classroom I knew,” she said.

La’Da’Jaih Bishop-Harris, who arrived late to school and was checking into the attendance office next to the in-school suspension room, heard screaming.

“It was real scary,” the 18-year-old said.

Principal Treva Jeffries, over the school sound system, announced that the school — which has about 550 students — was in lockdown, and it was not a drill.

Students crowded into corners, teachers turned off lights.

“I just said to myself, ‘We’re going to be fine,’ ” said Tevin Bell, 18. “One girl … was saying, ‘What if he comes in here?’ A lot of ‘what ifs.’ I told her nothing is going to happen to us.”

By the time Toledo police officers arrived, securing entrances and blocking off nearby streets, school officers had the Stroude youth alone, surrounded in a hallway.

Students in two adjacent classrooms were evacuated, reportedly out of windows broken by police.

Toledo police help a student out of a window at Scott High School during the standoff.
Toledo police help a student out of a window at Scott High School during the standoff.

Toledo officers took over, maintaining a perimeter around the student and talking to the teen, asking him to put down the bookbag and end the standoff.

At one point, the boy “became agitated” and brandished the gun, though he never pointed it at anyone, Lieutenant King said.

Officers shot a beanbag round at the boy’s torso, which allowed them to take the youth into custody.

The boy’s foot was injured, though it was not clear how; he was treated at the scene by Toledo Fire Department paramedics.

School officials allowed parents to pick up their students at about noon. They said additional security and counselors will be at the school today.

“I don’t know why that situation happened,” said Lorraine Foster, the suspect’s aunt, who was at the school during the incident. “He’s not a bad kid. He does good in school.”

Several students said they did not know the youth well, but said the teen had some behavioral problems at school. Many pointed to a Nov. 30 Facebook post on the suspect’s page that read: “This might be my goodbye stat cuzz i might be on my way … i forgive everybody that did me wrong and im sorry fo anything i did wrong to anybody and i love everybody all of yall and i’m going to miss yall and ill see u in a different life.”

The Stroude youth has no criminal history. In 2010, he was charged with criminal damaging, but the case was dismissed, juvenile court records show.

School officials did not know whether the youth had been bullied, nor did they know what might have prompted him to take the pellet gun to school.

Once the investigation is complete, the district will go forward with the expulsion process.

Jim Gault, chief academic officer, said if the youth is expelled, the district can offer help with home schooling and connecting the family with appropriate services.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.