WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man who they say attempted to grab students at a Derby school and crashed into a gate at McConnell Air Force Base.
The sheriff’s office identified the suspect as Tyler J. DeBarea, 38. DeBarea was charged Friday, Sept. 13 on suspicion of aggravated criminal threat and four counts: battery, physical contact in rude, insulting and angry manner.
DeBarea is being held on a $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 19
Deputies say it started when they were dispatched to Wineteer Elementary at 11:40 a.m. Tuesday for the report of a suspicious character in the area. As they were getting close, dispatch advised them that the man was in a truck and tried to ram the gates at McConnell Air Force Base.
Concrete-filled barricades at McConnell stopped the truck, which was later determined to be stolen from McConnell. The sheriff’s office says the man then jumped the fence and ran.
Deputies began searching for him. A short time later, someone called to report a suspicious character walking in the area of 3800 S. Webb Road.
Deputies say that’s where they found DeBarea and took him into custody.
A security officer at the school told a deputy that he heard that some children were grabbed, pushed and pulled by the suspicious character at Wineteer.
Deputies say they took DeBarea to Wineteer where they found five children, ages 7 to 8, who said they were victims. The students said they were at recess when a man swatted them on the arm or tried to grab their shirt.
A Derby Public Schools official said the staff acted in accordance with their standard response protocol.
“Several of the adults on the playground saw what was going on, actually did a very good job and immediately went over to that person and kind of put themselves between that person and the students on the playground,” Matt Liston, USD 260 safety and security officer said.
A parent of a Wineteer student used the opportunity to talk to her child about stranger danger.
“She was a little scared so I talked to her about it, and she’s okay now. She knows she’s safe,” Krystal Sharwarko said.
The Exploited and Missing Children Unit is investigating the incident.
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