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Suspended Student Holds Teacher, Students Hostage

October 29, 1990

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (AP) _ A 17-year-old high school student held a classmate hostage at gunpoint Monday after taking over a classroom and then freeing his teacher and five other students, officials said.

The student, Eli Dean, made no demands and fired no shots. Negotiators were communicating with him over the school’s intercom system, said state police Sgt. Marvin Jenkins.

″The important thing is we don’t want anybody injured and we don’t think he does either,″ Jenkins said.

The rest of the 643-student school was evacuated onto the school football field.

Hostage negotiators were at the school, and two state police chaplains were flown in. Members of Dean’s family also were present, including his father, Robin, a civilian employee of the state police.

Jenkins said snipers were positioned around the school, but that officials were keepings their options open.

″We’re not making a move ... We’re not in any great rush to do things,″ he said.

The student, a senior, had been suspended from school twice during the past two weeks. He returned to the school late Monday morning with a handgun, officials said.

Dean let his teacher leave first, and then later let most of the students go.

The youth’s stepfather, Rocky Williams of Charlestown, said he believed Dean had taken his .44-calibre pistol to the school. State police said they did not know what type of weapon the boy had.

Williams said his stepson was suspended about two weeks ago after he accidentally set off a fire alarm. He was suspended again last week for breaking a window, Williams said.

″He was falling behind in his school work and was upset,″ his stepfather said.

Police refused to speculate on Dean’s motives.

″Maybe the fact that he’s 17 years old is as much reason as anything,″ Jenkins said.

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