LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It all started last Thursday when Kenwood Elementary Assistant Principal Katie Williams spotted 19-year-old Dijon Gaines inside the playground area sitting on a bench.
“The staff approached him and told him he couldn’t be here when the kids are here. It was very non confrontational; he got up and walked away,” Katie Williams said.
Gaines returned the next day. During a routine perimeter check, Williams saw him again walking on campus. She immediately called JCPS security. They called the police. While she waited for help to arrive, Williams got in her car to watch him more closely.
“Right kind of behind those trees he sat down in the grass. There were children on the playground,” Williams said.
Williams used her radio, which all teachers at the school have, to alert the teacher at the playground that Gaines was near.
“A few seconds later a 5th grader came to the teacher and said that he thought he saw a gun so the teacher radioed me. I relayed that information to the principal. We removed the students from the playground and went into lockdown,” Williams said.
Gaines then went from the bench to a ditch. Williams saw him lie down in it. Police arrived soon after and arrested him.
“I have no idea what his intent was. It may have been nothing. I knew he shouldn't have been on our property,” Williams said.
No motive is known but police found 5 BB guns on Gaines. He's charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. On Monday, Sept. 23, Williams and the rest of staff are relieved that nobody was hurt. They all credit the fifth grader for prompting the quick lockdown.
“We are very, very proud of him for being a good citizen, and doing the right thing and going and telling the teacher,” Williams said.
Kenwood Elementary has practiced these lockdown drills before, but Friday was the real thing. Williams is pleased that no one panicked and wants parents to know that their children's safety comes first.
“Even if we overreacted it doesn’t matter; we executed our emergency plans flawlessly. I'm happy to be a part of Kenwood,” Williams said.