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Why Riverside police waited hours to end hostage situation at Castle View Elementary

By in Press Enterprise on November 2, 2017

By Ryan Hagen

For more than six anxious hours, Riverside police tried to convince Luvelle Kennon to stop holding teacher Linda Montgomery hostage.

Then, suddenly, with no warning visible from the outside, police burst into the classroom, fired two flash-bang grenades and fatally shot Kennon.

The sequence of events Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Castle View Elementary School left some wondering on social media: Could Montgomery have been saved earlier? Could she have been saved without Kennon dying?

The investigation is continuing, so police aren’t ready to release certain specifics, Riverside police spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback said.

Railsback said they tried to negotiate with Kennon as long as it was safe — in general, that’s the best way to ensure everyone gets out without harm — until the suspect’s actions forced their hand.

“If he’s giving the appearance that he may be willing to give up, we want the most safe and peaceful resolution,” Railsback said. “But it also gets to a point where, if you don’t know the condition of the victim, her safety is in peril — we’ve got to take action.”

Police aren’t ready to say what happened just before they entered the classroom, Railsback said. But their major concerns included the fact that they were only intermittently able to speak with Kennon and that he wouldn’t allow them to see or speak to the hostage.

“We knew she was elderly,” Railsback said, referring to Montgomery, whose granddaughter said she is in her 70s. “Was she injured, was she struck? She’d been in there with no food or water for a long time.”

He also wouldn’t say what Kennon said during the standoff, and said police are still investigating what led to it.

“We’re still trying to confirm, but we believe (Montgomery) was possibly his daughter’s teacher,” Railsback said. “There’s a lot of unanswered questions. What led to […]    

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