Cameras capture the moment terrified children scatter as attempted kidnapper approaches

A terrifying surveillance video out of Colorado showed the moment elementary school children were approached by a man who allegedly tried to kidnap one of them.

School district leaders met with parents of Black Forest Hills Elementary School students who wanted to know how they “failed” to keep their children safe and are “asking for accountability.”

“We hope that children embellish a little bit, but the footage there showed exactly what was stated,” parent Dante White told CBS News after watching the video for the first time with other parents. “It was hard. It was really hard.”

A man identified as Solomon Galligan, 33, was caught on camera walking onto a field at the Aurora, Colorado school around 2:20 pm April 22, an affidavit from the Aurora Police indicated.

The suspect “claims to identify a woman” and “was in the process of transitioning for several years,” according to CBS News. He was seen in the released footage walking up to the children, lunging at one before falling down as the terrified students ran off the field.

Parents watched the video in horror during a meeting Monday with the superintendent and officials of the Cherry Creek School District.

“They did admit fault. They did apologize. And now the next steps are to schedule a secondary meeting, because we’ve prescribed a couple of items that we wanted done,” White told CBS News. “We want an independent investigation of it, we want people put on administrative leave, we want people fired.”

Parents demanded the district provide more safety training, erect more fencing around school property, and install new surveillance equipment.

“We are doing a thorough investigation. We’re looking at exactly what happened and what transpired afterwards as well. We take safety as a high priority,” Lauren Snell, a CCSD Public Information Officer, noted.

Snell also indicated that they “changed the supervision areas that teacher assistants had on recess to make sure that all students are visible,” according to the outlet. Parents are not satisfied with the steps so far.

“This is something that you fear as a parent. They’re in the custody of adults that are supposed to be trained professionals, and they weren’t. They categorically failed across the board, from the administration on-site to the administration at Cherry Creek to the heads of security,” said White. “We’re asking for accountability.”

Meanwhile, Galligan’s family said it has “been a real struggle.”

“The way schizophrenia and bipolar is, he’s unable to make decisions for himself. He’s got voices and other things making those choices for him, which then leads him to be off his medication,” Amanda Morris, Galligan’s niece, told CBS News.

“You get stuck in this process of, he does something he’s not supposed to, gets arrested, goes to jail, deemed incompetent to stand trial. They do almost like a program where they give him his meds and make sure he’s doing what he needs to do so that he then qualifies as competent to stand trial,” said Morris.

“There’s no excuse for him being there and doing what he did and [parents] definitely have a right to be angry,” she added. “Whether I was a kid on the playground or a parent of a child on the playground, yeah I would be scared and be affected by whatever happened there on the playground.”

“What does it have to take for you guys to understand that he cannot be on his own,” said Sarah Galligan, the suspect’s adoptive sister.

“Get into a mental institution, be able to take his meds and to be watched over,” said Sarah. “I don’t want anybody else to come to harm, just because he’s not able to take care of himself.”

Frieda Powers

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