Man Charged In Westview Elementary Rampage Under Treatment At Moccasin Bend

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The 22-year-old charged with a rampage through Westview Elementary School is under treatment at Moccasin Bend Psychiatric Hospital, officials said.

Aaron Roden had been set for his first court appearance on Thursday morning. Attorney Allen Dunn of the public defender's office said the hearing needed to be delayed. A status court appearance will be Sept. 23 at 1:30 p.m.

Sheriff Jim Hammond said Roden spent only a day at the County jail. He said he has been at the mental health facility for a week.

The sheriff said there have been no reports of problems with Roden at the facility. He said security is being handled by the facility, and he said no deputies are watching Roden, who is also charged with knifing a 19-year-old in the next two weeks prior to the Westview damage.

At the court appearance, Graham Winton told General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes that Roden had come by his house and "flipped me off" the night before the Westview incident.

Judge Starnes said Roden is under no bond and is also under an order not to have any contact with any victims or witnesses.

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 one day for investigation and cleanup.

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.

Deputies said he told them, while being prepped to be taken to Erlanger Hospital, that he had planned to do as much damage as possible at the school and then burn it down.

Authorities said the damage may have been as high as $100,000.

Parents of Roden said in an open letter that he has been troubled his whole life, but had never received adequate mental health treatment.

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

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


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