At the request of the Seattle Public Schools, Seattle police entered the Horace Mann school building in the Central District Tuesday and arrested four people for criminal trespassing.
School district officials requested police assistance after several groups began using the vacant school without authorization from the district, delaying planned renovations of Horace Mann and costing the school district tens of thousands of dollars in construction penalties.
School district officials began negotiations with the group in an attempt to come to a peaceful resolution, while also working with Seattle police and the City Attorney’s office to on possible charges for group members who refused to leave.
While the school district was able to negotiate with the majority of the group’s members, a small contingent remained inside the Horace Mann building and refused to leave. Members of the smaller group claimed to be in possession of explosives, and warned that anyone who approached the building could come under fire from a rooftop sniper.
After working with school district officials and monitoring the situation at Horace Mann for weeks, Seattle police learned that only a few members of the group would be inside the building today.
As this smaller group presented a lower risk for an arrest team, police requested that nearby Garfield High School go into shelter-in-place, and stationed additional uniformed officers on the school’s campus shortly after 12:30 PM. An SPD tactical team then entered the Horace Mann building, where officers arrested four people for criminal trespassing without incident, including a man found hiding inside an attic.
As of 1:15 pm, police were still searching the building for other trespassers.
Police will continue to work with the school district to secure the school site.