Westview Elementary Vandal Said He Planned To Burn The School Down After Rampage

Thursday, August 14, 2014
Aaron Roden
Aaron Roden

The 22-year-old charged with a rampage through Westview Elementary School told authorities he planned "to do as much damage as possible, and then burn the school down."

Aaron Roden was moved from Erlanger Hospital on Thursday to the Hamilton County Jail.

He faces vandalism over $60,000, burglary and two counts of assault on police in connection with the torrent of damage that caused the school to have to be closed on Tuesday.

The arrest report said that when deputies got to Roden he was in a room at the school hanging from the rafters. He was wearing only boxer shorts.

He threw a printer at two deputies, who had to taze him to get him under control.

The first deputy at the scene of the school on East Brainerd Road said he began to check the perimeter of the school and saw someone's silhouette. He said he saw him breaking ceiling tiles and trying to kick in a door.

He said when Roden saw him he started running toward him. He said he then stopped, pulled a fire extinguisher off the wall and threw it through a glass door toward him. The deputy had to dodge the fire extinguisher.

Roden then ran down a hallway out of sight. 

The deputy said he then called for backup, and units from the sheriff's office and Collegedale police arrived. Keys to get inside were provided by county maintenance.

Deputies said as they proceeded inside they heard noise at the other end of the school. They were able to trace Roden to a conference room. They said they began to beat on the door, and Roden would beat on the door back.

Deputies at first could not get the door open because Roden had moved all the furniture in front of the door. They were finally able to push their way inside.

Roden stopped swinging from the rafters, then picked up the printer and yelled at the deputies. He was tazed after he refused orders to drop to the floor. Roden fell to the floor after being tazed. The deputies were able to roll him over and handcuff him.

Roden was described as "frantic and sweating heavily." He refused to walk so the deputies had to carry him out of the room. 

The deputies said they could not carry him further because he was sweating so heavily. They awaited the arrival of paramedics.

He made the statement about his intentions for destroying the school while being prepped to be taken to Erlanger.

Authorities said the damage exceeded $60,000.

The school reopened on Wednesday after a cleanup that extended far into the night.

Roden is set to appear next Thursday before General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes.

At the jail, Roden gave his address as 4111 Tennessee Ave., St. Elmo


20,676 Cast Ballots In First 4 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first four days of early voting in Hamilton County, 20,676 have already cast ballots. That includes 1,900 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011, and it was 3,818 on Saturday. Sites: Brainerd 1,084, 1080, 1,030, 816 Election Office 1,848, 1,731, ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13; Mocs Seniors Gain 34th Career Win

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley Stadium before 10, 505 fans. "It's a huge confidence booster," Bagley said. "All credit goes to our great offensive line and receivers blocking down field. The coaches did a great job preparing us. Everyone ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)