Law enforcement officials say they have two students in custody following what they are describing as an attack on the principal of John Sager Middle School in College Place. They are also praising school officials who aided in getting the scene under control.
Police say 18-year-old Jaymond S. Oakhurst and his brother, 16-year-old Lamont P. Oakhurst entered the school with a spear and wooden staff. Lamont had been suspended from the adjoining high school for a violation. The brothers are said to have approached the office window asking for their sister, Lavelle Starr. Lucinda Fish, an administrative staff member at the school, reportedly told police that Lamont had a spear and stuck it through the open office window. This struck Fish in the chest but she suffered no injuries. Fish closed the window and the brothers turned to the door, to the left of the window, that goes into the school office. The spear measured 55″ according to police.
Fish told police that Lamont used the spear to break through the security glass in the door. She and co-worker Dana Heffler left the office area through a back exit after the boys broke through the door and entered the office. That’s when Principal Dale Stopperan entered the scene.
It is reported that Stopperan came out of his office to confront the two students. Stopperan told police that Jaymond struck him in the leg with a 33″ wooden staff. He was allegedly knocked to the ground and suffered a partially severed right ear. In addition, he had an abrasion and swelling to his left knee and some minor injuries to his right elbow.
Fish and Heffler reportedly went through the school to alert staff of the incident occurring. Both the middle and high schools were placed on lock down. Police say that’s when a group of staff came running into the office armed with baseball bats. The brothers were reportedly driven out the front door by the armed staff and they remained at the front door armed until police arrived.
Police say when they arrived, the two brothers were outside the school’s main entrance. Lamont is said to have advanced toward police with the spear above his head. An officer with Walla Walla Police Department deployed two bean bag rounds striking Lamont in the front torso. The brothers are then said to have ran from police. Following a short foot pursuit the two were detained on school property. Lamont was said to have been in possession of the spear, two metal handle knives and a backpack.
Stopperan was taken by ambulance to St Mary’s Medical Center in Walla Walla. He was treated for “a serious laceration to the left side of his face and a partially severed ear, which required stitches.” He was released later Thursday evening. He was not at school the following day, according to a statement on the district’s website.
Rumors had circulated that the students obtained their weapons from a display within the school. We confirmed with police that the weapons were brought into the school by the students and were not part of any displays.
College Place School District has come under criticism recently for a policy that allows students to carry pocket knives on school premises. In November, one parent of a College Place High School student spoke out after her daughter informed her that Principal Kirk Jameson told students during an assembly they could now carry knives at school.
Soledad Salazar told local ABC affiliate KVEW/KAPP, “from the election there’s a lot of teenagers who are divided now, because one voted for so-and-so. My concern is one of those kids gets upset and stabs my daughter.”
We asked the College Place School District if the school system will consider changing it’s policy allowing knives following today’s incident. The school system has not returned our calls or emails.
This article has been updated with additional information and updates gathered following the initial publication. It is an active and developing story and we will bring additional details once we have those available.
College Place Police Report: View PDF