***For Immediate Release ***
College Place Police Department Date: 6/8/17625 625 S. College Ave
College Place, Washington
Contact: Police Chief Troy Tomaras
On June 8, 2017 at around 1:44 PM the College Place Police Department received reports of two high school students attacking the Principal at John Sager Middle School located at 1775 S. College Avenue in College Place, Washington.
The two students made entry into the school lobby and forced their way into a locked administrative office by using a wood club and long metal spear to break through reinforced glass. Upon entry, the students were confronted by the school principal Dale Stopperan who was immediately assaulted by the two students. Other staff members came to the principal’s aid armed with a baseball bat repelling the assailants to retreat and exit the building just as officers arrived on scene. The school administrators simultaneously initiated lock down procedures to protect the students.
Officers arrived within minutes of the attack and confronted the two suspects. One suspect ran around the back of the school and was immediately taken into custody by responding officers without incident. The second suspect was unresponsive to officer’s commands when confronted. Subsequently, an officer deployed a less lethal bean-bag round to gain compliance and get the assailant to drop his weapon. The second assailant was then taken into custody.
Principal Stopperan received lacerations to his face during the altercation and was immediately transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Walla Walla where he was treated for his injuries and later released. Neither suspects were injured during the incident.
Chief Troy Tomaras of the College Place Police Department credits the bravery of the school staff and Principal Stopperan along with the quick response by officers for a successful outcome of a horrific incident. Nobody is immune to school violence, not even small towns like College Place says Tomaras.
Officers from the College Place Police Department, Walla Walla Police Department, Walla Walla County Sherriff’s office and the Washington State Patrol quickly responded to the scene. Incident Command was established within minutes and secured the school. Tomaras credits the professionalism of responding officers who bravely confronted the two violent and highly enraged individuals while taking them into custody without sustaining any injury to the suspects or themselves.
The two suspects were identified as siblings who attended College Place High school located adjacent to the middle school. The suspects were not in attendance at the high school prior to the attack. It is still unknown why they chose to attack the middle school and are uncertain why they targeted the administrative office. Both suspects are College Place residents aged 16 and 18. The 16 year old was taken to a juvenile detention facility and the 18 year old was taken to the Walla Walla Corrections Facility pending arraignment. Appropriate charging is being considered by the prosecutor’s office.
Photos may be obtained by visiting Instagram: Collegeplacepolice