APD: Armed man who fled school bus crash was DV suspect
A number of East Anchorage schools were placed in stay-put mode Wednesday morning, as police detained a reportedly armed man accused of threatening the driver of a school bus after it was involved in a collision.
Police identified the suspect Wednesday afternoon as 38-year-old David A. Lee, saying he was charged with assault, eluding and providing false information in the incident. He was also held on a number of outstanding warrants.
According to APD, Lee has been wanted on a number of domestic-violence assault charges after police said he committed a series of crimes against women, including striking, strangling and shooting various victims.
Police said they responded just before 9 a.m. to 36th Avenue and Upland Drive to the collision, according to an APD statement, with Lee in custody at about 10 a.m.
“The suspect threatened the life of the school bus driver and fled,” police wrote. “No one on the bus was injured.”
APD Sgt. Shaun Henry said the collision involved a white vehicle which struck the school bus, No. 62.
“At this point it appears that it was intentional,” Henry said. “We don’t know if the bus was targeted because it was a bus or just because it was there.”
Henry emphasized that nobody was hurt in the crash, but said reports that the suspect was waving a gun made the call a high priority for APD.
“There were several students threatened on the bus,” Henry said. “They were very afraid, so we took that seriously and that’s why we sent all the resources we did.”
Police set up a perimeter covering a square within Patterson Street, Northern Lights Boulevard, Muldoon Road and East 36th Avenue. That perimeter was being broken down after the search.
Police had been looking for a “dark skin adult black male” standing about 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing roughly 180 pounds and wearing a black hoodie.
“He is considered armed and dangerous,” police wrote.
K-9 units were employed in the initial search, Henry said, but Lee was ultimately spotted trying to leave the area in another car.
“A vehicle was seen leaving the area with someone inside who looked similar to the person we were looking for,” Henry said. “We stopped the vehicle and detained that person.”
Another person in the vehicle was detained, Henry said, as a “person of interest” in the investigation.
Anchorage School District spokeswoman Catherine Esary said five Baxter Elementary School students were on board the bus at the time of the collision.
Three schools near the crash site, Scenic Park and Susitna elementary schools, as well as the Stream Academy charter school at Wayland Baptist University, were placed on stay-put mode – with exterior doors locked but students free to move about inside. Those stay-puts were lifted shortly after APD reported the suspect was in custody.
Parents of students on board school buses have been notified, and counseling will be available for the students on the bus if necessary.
"Certainly we will provide everything they need," Esary said.
APD spokesman MJ Thim had urged people to avoid the area during the search, and said residents should stay indoors.
Daniella Rivera, Scott Jensen and Joe Vigil contributed information to this story.
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