Students head to their buses after class at Whittier Elementary School on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Students head to their buses after class at Whittier Elementary School on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Police: Man pointed realistic BB gun at Everett elementary students

The incident prompted lockdowns in north Everett. Officers arrested the man, who had a history of making threats.

EVERETT — An Everett man was arrested Wednesday after he was accused of waving around a BB gun and pointing it at Whittier Elementary School students, leading to lockdowns of local schools.

Just before 2:30 p.m., the man, 45, was walking near the Oakes Avenue school carrying what appeared to be a black handgun, according to a police report. He started screaming at the kids who were returning to class from recess, pointing the gun in their direction. This was about 20 minutes before students were supposed to be dismissed for the day.

The man also pointed the gun in the air and yelled at a woman’s son to “shut the (expletive) up,” according to the report. She screamed for her son to get down and pulled him to the floor, fearing he’d be shot.

Next door to Whittier, Everett Community College went into lockdown. Washington State University’s Everett campus also was locked down.

“Not a drill,” both colleges tweeted. “Lock doors. Seek shelter. Avoid being seen or heard.”

Shortly after, Everett police found the man in the 1300 block of Broadway, about half a mile from the school. He was found with a realistic-looking BB pistol, according to court papers. He was arrested for investigation of two counts of felony harassment. He is also suspected of dealing meth and heroin in connection with an April 2021 arrest.

No one was injured.

After the arrest, the schools came out of lockdown. Whittier’s school dismissal was delayed about three minutes, school district spokesperson Kathy Reeves said in an email.

“Our staff is amazing and did a great job not only keeping our students safe from any potential threat, but they also calmed the students and helped them feel safe,” Reeves said. “The school followed protocol and we protected from any potential harm. Our partnership with local law enforcement and our compassionate staff functioned very well yesterday and we are proud of the work they do.”

The suspect has several previous felony convictions, including for threatening to kill a Providence Regional Medical Center Everett nurse in 2015. Hospital staff noted he had a history of being disruptive and abusive at the hospital. In this instance, he pointed out his tattoos and told the nurse he got them for killing people as a gang member, according to court documents.

At the time of those charges, he had 50 misdemeanor violations, many for violating no-contact orders and trespassing, court records show.

For the Providence threat, the man was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

On Thursday, he remained in the Snohomish County Jail with bail set at $110,000. If he posts bail, a judge ordered him to stay away from Whittier Elementary School.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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