SEATTLE -- An occupation that has gone on for months suddenly ended Tuesday when a Seattle police tactical team stormed a closed high school.
Four people were arrested after they refused to leave Horace Mann High School, which was closed down and scheduled to become an alternative school.
Seattle Police Department Detective Renee Witt said they had received information that if they tried to remove people inside the school, they would be met with a sniper on the roof and explosives rigged inside.
“We just couldn’t take that chance,” said Witt.
So they decided to clear the building. Bomb squad investigators will inspect the building, but so far, no threat of guns or explosives have been discovered and the four arrested people did not put up a fight. Witt said they will be interviewed and released.
The groups moved in and have been conducting vocational classes and community events at the school for months. They claimed the Seattle School District abandoned its responsibility to educate children in the largely minority neighborhood, so they were taking over.
School district officials said Tuesday they have been negotiating with the groups, but now that they are gone, they will go ahead with plans to prepare the aging building for a new alternative school.
People supporting the protestors surrounded the school and took photos and videos while police made their arrests and secured the building.
The district plans to station security officers at the school to keep out protestors until the renovation is complete.