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Salida School District to decide next steps following arrest of Principal related to school lockdown

SALIDA, Colo. (KRDO) -- Salida High School Principal Talmage Trujillo is on paid administrative leave following his arrest last Friday because of his behavior during a school lockdown the day before.

According to a police affidavit, a student at the district's alternative school, Horizons Exploratory Academy, told his legal guardian that he didn't want to be alive anymore and had a gun. His guardian called 911 to report that as he began walking toward Salida High School. His guardian tried to stop him, but told police he was too fast. When the student arrived at the high school, he went to the nurse's office where he also made comments about taking his own life.

From there, the affidavit says the student walked out of the school and appeared aggravated. The high school's administrative assistant tried to reach the school's resource officer, but couldn't. She then called the non-emergency dispatch number to reach law enforcement. Trujillo, who used to work at Horizons Exploratory Academy, happened to be walking into the school at the time and asked the school nurse what was going on. She told him, prompting him to chase after the student who fled campus. Trujillo then went over the school's radio communication system and said he was in an altercation with that student.

Officers put the school on lockout, according to the affidavit. When they got to campus, they tried to find the student in crisis. When they couldn't find him, they went to the front office and upgraded the lockout to a lockdown. The high school's Dean of Students was on the phone with Trujillo when they arrived at the office. The officer spoke to Trujillo and tried to get him to disclose his location. He told the officer he was going to lunch with the student and would be back to the school afterward. The officer told him the situation was serious and he needed to immediately tell them where he was, he told them no and then hung up. He didn't answer when officers called back. Officers later reported that Trujillo "did not make any statements that led [them] to believe the situation was calm."

Officers left the front office trying to find the student again. Then, the School Resource Officer assigned to Salida High School called the district's superintendent, David Blackburn, to tell him what was going on. Blackburn told them he wanted to hear both sides of the story.

Shortly after, a man walked up to Salida High School with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head, wearing a face mask, baseball hat, and jeans. He started pounding on the school doors. At first, officers didn't let him in and yelled at him to leave. When he went around to another door trying to get in, officers opened the door slightly to ask what he wanted, he pushed past them and walked into the school, telling them he was the superintendent. When he pulled his face mask down, officers recognized him as the superintendent.

In court documents, officers reported that they were unsure why he would behave like that because it wasn't safe. At this point, Superintendent Blackburn told police he was taking over as the incident commander and he wanted the officers to leave, he also told them he didn't like police.

Officers stayed, saying the situation wasn't safe yet and acknowledging that Superintendent Blackburn didn't have the authority to take over as incident commander. Eventually, units found Trujillo and the student at Crest Academy, ending the incident.

Officers arrested Trujillo the next day, he's charged with four misdemeanor counts: Harboring a Minor, Obstructing a Peace Officer, Obstructing Government Operations, and First Degree Official Misconduct.

Trujillo posted his $500 bond the same day of his arrest and is no longer in custody.

Superintendent Blackburn is not facing any charges at this time. When KRDO spoke to both the Salida Police Chief and District Attorney Linda Stanley, they both said they could not comment as to why Blackburn wasn't charged.

The Salida School District placed Trujillo on paid administrative leave following his arrest. Meanwhile, Superintendent Blackburn was coincidentally already scheduled to take a vacation and hasn't been at work since the incident. The fate of both men at the district will be decided by the school board during a closed-door meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 5th.

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Sydnee Stelle

Sydnee is an MMJ for KRDO NewsChannel 13. You can learn more about her here.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. There seems to be a lot more to this story. It will be interesting to follow the details. Sure hope it gets decent follow-up.

    1. A lot more to this story. Why would the superintendent, seemingly disguise himself and pound on the door? Why not show the officers immediately who he was? The principal refuses to cooperate with resource officers, is he the student’s special protector? Ya lots more to figure out. Glad no one was hurt.

  2. What is going on with these men, Acting Out so very strangely? One takes an In-Crisis Student to lunch, not to a Mental Health facility, the other thinking a Non-Law Enforcement Officer person is a Valid REPLACEMENT in a possible Deadly situation! Why BOTH aren’t facing numerous Charges, is just boggling! Is there a breakdown of Procedures and/or Training plaguing Salida, CO?

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