EVERETT — The Everett School District had fired a teacher’s aide about a month before he allegedly assaulted two security guards at department store.
Eddie Phifer, 32, was hired as a substitute aide in May 2013 and became a permanent employee seven months later. He worked at Cascade High School with special education classes. He was working at Madison Elementary School when he was terminated Dec. 2, district spokeswoman Mary Waggoner said Thursday.
She declined to say why Phifer was let go.
Prosecutors this week charged Phifer with second-degree robbery. The incident was reported Jan. 9 at the Everett Mall. Two security guards stopped Phifer and a woman as they left Sears. The guards alleged that the woman had taken two watches without paying.
“The defendant and his female companion then attacked both store security officers with punches and kicks,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson wrote in charging papers.
Phifer and the two guards ended up on the ground. The woman ran off with the watches but not before she allegedly punched the guards as they grappled with Phifer. The store guards held the suspect down until Everett police arrived.
Phifer told officers he was a paraeducator at Cascade High School.
Police reported finding drug paraphernalia on Phifer during the arrest. Jail corrections officers discovered a hidden bag of heroin during a strip search of the inmate, Dickinson wrote.
Phifer graduated from drug court in Kitsap County in 2008 and a felony charge against him was dismissed. The case likely would have shown up on the required state background checks but a dismissed charge wouldn’t necessarily prevent him from being hired, Waggoner said.
Phifer didn’t disclose to the district that he was charged in Monroe in late 2014 with third-degree theft, a misdemeanor.
There isn’t a system in place to notify the school district when an employee is charged with a crime such as theft, Waggoner said. Law enforcement will notify the district if an employee is accused of a crime against children.
“It is a surprise to us that this is on his record,” Waggoner said.
Phifer pleaded guilty to the theft in May and his sentence was deferred for two years provided that he didn’t commit any new crimes and stayed away from Wal-Mart stores, according to court records.