MISSION, KS (KCTV) – A suspect is in custody and has now been charged after an officer-involved shooting happened near Highlands Elementary School just after it was on lockdown.
The school is in the 6200 block of Roe Ave., which is in the Shawnee Mission School District.
At 1:30 p.m., according to police, there was a paraprofessioinal outside with a student who heard what sounded like gunfire. So, everyone was rushed inside and the school entered a complete lockdown.
Police activity then began in the area. At that time, the sheriff's office said that there was a "firearms complaint" at the school, but no other information was available.
“All students and staff are safe,” according to an initial email from the school that was sent to parents. The school also asked that people not approach the building.
Crime scene tape could be seen around some cars in the parking lot, one of which was a school minivan that had a window broken out. A school spokesperson said that it did appear a bullet had broken the window, but they were still trying to figure out where that gunfire came from. No one was inside the van when it happened.
Also, bullet holes were found in a wall of the school.
Police had been seen spending a lot of time at a house across the street. They found bullet holes in the side of that house, suggesting the shots came from inside there. However, no one was home at that time.
By 2:50 p.m., the lockdown was lifted and parents were picking up their children, but they had to be escorted.
“Because it’s a little bit of a tense atmosphere, we’re doing dismissal as we would a rain dismissal, where we bring the kids out to their parents," explained David Smith, spokesman for the Shawnee Mission School District.
The officer-involved shooting happened after 3:15 p.m. in the 4600 block of West 62nd St., which is located directly across the street from the school.
Police said they had received multiple 911 calls and 911 disconnects from a woman inside the house they were at earlier. She said her son was home and armed.
"A lady comes out, advised that her child had a firearm," said John Lacy with the Overland Park Police Department.
Police returned to the house and could be seen talking to a woman outside. Things quickly got tense and police were telling everyone to get back. Parents, children, and staff were quickly ushered into the school.
Police had their guns drawn and were pointing them at the house. They yelled a name and told the male suspect to come out of the house with his hands up several times.
Then, the male suspect opened the door and could be seen pointing a black handgun at police.
A KCTV5 News crew was close to the scene and witnessed an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and police. It seems that the suspect fired first.
The suspect was shot in the leg. He is in stable condition.
No other injuries have been reported and police said all students and staff are OK.
UPDATE: On Saturday, the police said that the suspect is 26-year-old Dylan Ruffin.
He is currently being held in the Johnson County Adult Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.
He has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and criminal discharge of a firearm at a structure.
The Johnson County Multi-Jurisdictional Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Team is handling the investigation of the shooting.
When the shooting stopped, there were still a handful of parents outside shielding their kids and rushing inside. The shooting happened quickly.
The school is in Mission, Kansas. The house where the officer-involved shooting happened is on the other side of Roe Avenue and is in Fairway, Kansas.
We asked police if they thought it was a mistake to not give the clear for dismissal and to not keep the area blocked off for longer after the first set of shots at 1:30 p.m.
The spokesman provided to the media said he’d work to get us that answer. That spokesman is with the Overland Park police, which is an agency not even involved. He was requested on the part of the smaller departments that were involved.
Later on Friday, the principal sent out a statement to parents:
Dear Highlands Elementary School Families,
I wanted to let you know about an incident that took place this afternoon here at Highlands Elementary. No one was hurt during this incident, and everyone responded as we have trained them to.
The school was placed on an external lockdown this afternoon after staff who were on the playground heard the sound of gunfire. During a lockdown, all students and staff are brought inside, and no one is allowed in or out, until the lockdown was lifted. Both district and city police were called, and responded immediately, and made sure that students and staff were safe.
Once the situation was under control, we made the decision to begin our dismissal. We used our rain procedure, in which we walked students out to parents individually. While this was taking place, police at a house across from the school attempted to arrest a suspect and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. When this happened, we brought everyone back into the school, until the police announced that they had arrested the suspect.
I want to say again that no one was hurt, and that students and staff acted exactly as we have trained during our safety drills. I also want to thank both our local police department and our SMSD police officers for their guidance. This was a stressful situation, and everyone handled it professionally.
Also included in this communication is a letter from Julie Nelson, our social worker, with advice on how to talk to and support your kids during this time. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me here at the school.
Lea Ann Combs