GODDARD — Oak Street north of downtown is a quiet neighborhood, one in which Barb Barber can peacefully tend the rosebush next to her front porch or watch children at play nearby.
In fact, she was planning to go read for a spell on her porch early Wednesday afternoon – until she looked out the window and saw patrol cars blocking off the street.
“It’s pretty frightening, especially when you see the armored vehicles driving by,” Barber said while standing on her porch and watching the flashing lights south of her house.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s SWAT team joined other law enforcement agencies in converging on a house across the street from Oak Street Elementary in Goddard early Wednesday afternoon after Goddard police received a tip that two people were going to commit a crime at the house, Sheriff’s Capt. Annette Haga said.
Goddard police officers arrived before the crime took place and arrested a woman in the yard outside the house shortly before 12:30 p.m., Haga said. When authorities learned from two sources that a second suspect might be in the house and that he could be armed, they alerted Goddard school district officials.
Students at the elementary school, just south of Kellogg and just west of Main in Goddard, were loaded onto buses and taken to Challenger Intermediate School a few blocks away as a precaution when the three-hour event began, said Ronny Lieurance, police chief for the Goddard school district.
“We had buses within five minutes and had them loaded up in 10,” Lieurance said.
The Oak Street principal got onto the intercom and told the nearly 300 students they were going on a field trip to “the big kids’ school,” Goddard school district spokeswoman Annette Singletary said.
“The kids were thrilled,” she said. “It was an adventure for them.”
They loaded onto the buses on the back side of the school, as they always do, with their teachers and then watched a movie in Challenger’s gymnasium.
Meanwhile, the SWAT team mobilized and sheriff’s officers headed to Goddard to assist Goddard police. The Kansas Highway Patrol sent troopers. Oak and Main streets were blocked off south of Kellogg as a precaution.
Authorities later learned the second suspect was in Wichita, and he was taken into custody at about 3:15 p.m., Haga said. The SWAT team then went into the house across the street from the school to make sure it was empty, she said.
“The entire time, there was no one in the house,” Haga said.
The people who live at the house were not the intended targets of the crime and have no connection to the suspects, Haga said.
Buses that would have picked up the students at Oak Street at the end of the schoolday collected them at Challenger instead, Singletary said. Parents were also given the option of picking their children up at Challenger.