Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal
August 19, 2005

School took quick precautions

Police standoff was blocks away

By Paul Wilson pawilson@courier-journal.com

As he walked to Eisenhower Elementary School with his mother yesterday
morning, 5-year-old Ricky Martin asked about the loud noises in the
distance.

"He said, 'Is that fireworks, Mommy?' " his mother, Melanie Martin,
recalled yesterday afternoon. "I told him I didn't think so."

Between 8 and 8:15 a.m. a man shot and killed a woman in the 6400
block of Venango Drive, according to Louisville Metro Police. The man
then holed up in a house near Blake Lane and Maryman Road and fired at
police officers, according to Alicia Smiley, a police spokeswoman.

Martin said she wasn't sure where the shots she heard came from.
Eisenhower Elementary, where Ricky Martin started kindergarten this
week, is about a quarter-mile from the Blake address and just over a
mile from the Venango address.

His mother learned of the shootings only after she returned home from
dropping Ricky off, she said.

"A friend of mine called me and asked if everything was OK. I said,
'What are you talking about?' " Martin said. "I was by myself and my
husband had to come home, I was so nervous."

When the standoff began, officials at Eisenhower hurried pupils inside
before classes started at 9 a.m., said Lauren Roberts, spokeswoman for
Jefferson County Public Schools.

The school doors were locked and students were kept in the gym and
cafeteria until police said it was all right to start classes shortly
afterward, Roberts said. Several school buses were rerouted, she said.

More than 400 students in kindergarten through fifth grade attend the
school, Roberts said. Children at the school were not allowed to go
outside yesterday, she said.

Between 3 and 4 p.m., parents sat in cars lining Lila Avenue, which
leads to the school's pickup area. Most said they were anxious to get
their children home.

Some expressed a hope that the standoff would end soon.

"There's 150 cops and one guy," said Jennifer Minton, waiting to pick
up her children, 7-year-old Hailey and 5-year-old Bryce. "Go in and
get him. They have been out there since 8 o'clock this morning, and
they know he killed somebody."

Minton said she didn't know what her children were told during the day
about what had happened, but she said they would be "scared to death"
if they knew.

Mellie Miller wondered whether she should tell her 7-year-old
daughter, Isabelle Allen, about what happened.

She said her daughter is "a little bit of a drama queen, so if I do
have to explain it to her, I'm sure she'll be dramatic."

As Melanie Martin and her husband, Curtis, walked home with Ricky
about 3:30 p.m., they doubted he knew about the violence. Ricky,
holding a Spider-man lunch box and wearing a white polo shirt, asked
about nearby police cars and talked about what he did in school.

About two hours later, Ricky was at home, eating spaghetti and
"getting it all over his face," his mother said by telephone. The
Martins hadn't told him anything about the shootings.

"He doesn't ask any questions, so I'm not going to tell him anything,"
Melanie Martin said. "It's just scary -- it scares me to death."