Police: Man who made threats at Capitol Hill middle school ‘in crisis’

Police say the man tracked down last week after threats at a Capitol Hill middle school made references to a school shooting but appears to be suffering a mental crisis and was not found with any firearms when he was arrested.

Police say he had also been released from custody just hours before the threats after being evaluated by medical staff who cleared the 26-year-old for release despite his “violent thoughts including homicidal and suicidal ideations.”

According to court documents, Leonardo Rivera has been held in King County Jail on $150,000 bail after being booked for investigation of felony harassment last week. He has not yet been charged in the incident.

Police say Rivera, taken into custody after SPD posted a public plea for help tracking him down, came to Capitol Hill’s Meany Middle School just before 9 AM on Monday, February 26th just hours after his release following the medical examination:

S/Rivera was at the Meany Middle School playfield where middle school students were present. S/Rivera told some students “if you mess with my daughter I will kill you and your family”. He made gestures at them with his hand and finger like he was pointing a gun at them. The students were scared and went to the entrance to the school. S/Rivera followed them and he threatened another student by telling them words to the affect that they need “Jesus” and if “you guys don’t leave me alone I am going to come back and kill you”. He also said “School shooting, School Shooting, everybody get down”.

According to the police report on the incident, Rivera then entered the school where he made no further threats but told staff his daughter went to the school and that “he was ‘King’ and should be treated as such.” While they checked the name he provided and found there was no student by that name at the school, staff called 911 but Rivera reportedly was escorted off school ground before police arrived. Staff then learned of the threats reported by the students who had encountered Rivera on the field earlier that morning. By then, Rivera could not be located.

When he was tracked down two days later, police say Rivera talked in a “self described French accent” and told police about a non-existent daughter who was bullied at the school. Police say Rivera “appeared to be in crisis.”

According to county records, he has been jailed around ten times in the past year for misdemeanors including trespassing and assault.

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6 thoughts on “Police: Man who made threats at Capitol Hill middle school ‘in crisis’

  1. Where does the info come from that he expressed that he has “violent thoughts including homicidal and suicidal ideations”? Because any conversation he had with the jail medical staff is HIPAA protected so…CHS where are you getting that info?

  2. If he had suicidal/homicidal ideation, why the heck was he released? He is eligible for an involuntary hold for mental health purposes if he’s a potential danger to himself or others. Baffling to think they didn’t call someone to assess him independently instead of releasing him. Let’s hope he gets the help he needs this time.

    • It’s hard to know for sure without knowing more of the facts, but it does sound like the jail medical staff really dropped the ball on this one, and it could have had fatal consequences. Thank god that did not happen.

  3. I think we all understand that there was a time and place in which the mental health system was abused, but we really have swung the pendulum a bit too far these days… It can be all but impossible to help someone who really does need it, which is not good for them and certainly not good for society.

    This man is not the first, nor the last person who will threaten or even commit violence because of a delusion. This time it was thwarted, but let us not forget Joseph LaMago and Shannon Harps who both died, right here on Capitol Hill, because of the inadequate care of two mentally ill men. It shouldn’t take a murder for there to be intervention…