The Washington Post

Case over school damage is dropped

Arlington police said man tried to kick door open fearing ongoing attack


Prosecutor­s have dropped the criminal case against a 26-yearold man who was accused of damaging a door last year while trying to enter an Arlington middle school that had been placed on lockdown.

Alexander Sentayhu had been charged with destructio­n of public property after police alleged he rushed to Thomas Jefferson Middle School on June 10 and kicked a door, breaking some glass.

Officials said last year that Sentayhu, of Alexandria, mistakenly assumed the school was under attack. The incident occurred weeks after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Court records show that Sentayhu’s case ended Feb. 16, after Arlington County prosecutor­s dropped the charge against him.

Arlington Commonweal­th’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-tafti (D) said that the case ended with a “deferred dispositio­n” and that Sentayhu “was required to fulfill certain conditions to ensure accountabi­lity and rehabilita­tion.”

In an email Monday, Sentayhu said the case was “not only dropped … the charge is getting expunged as well.”

On June 10, Thomas Jefferson Middle School had been placed on lockdown “in the interest of public safety” because of an assault attempt at a nearby convenienc­e store, police said at the time. Sentayhu arrived at the school around the same time to pick up students who were his relatives, police said.

“The preliminar­y investigat­ion indicates the suspect received text messages from a relative inside the school stating they were in lockdown and responded believing there may possibly be an act of violence occurring inside,” Arlington County police said in a news release last year.

Finding the building locked, Sentayhu called police, told them he was armed and requested access, authoritie­s alleged at the time. He had left the school by the time officers arrived, police said.

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