The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Trespasser at elementary school has domestic assault record

Suspicious man detained Tuesday was not armed when intercepted


A Valdez man trespassed from Hermon Hutchens Elementary School last week for suspicious behavior was unarmed according to police.

Joshua Terrell, age 37, was allegedly seen wandering around the periphery of the school's gym during a fifth-grade physical education class a week ago Tuesday.

"Terrell walked around the perimeter of the gym, but did not engage the class," a joint press release by the city and the school district said. "The physical education teacher challenged the man's presence in the room and then calmly evacuated her students out of the building."

Officials say that video surveillance recorded at the time shows that Terrell "entered the school through the main east door of the building. He then briefly walked into the empty boys' locker room and racquetball court before entering the gym."

Valdez Police photo

Joshua Terrell

The teacher contacted the school's office and police were alerted. Principal Melissa Reese activated the school's automatic doorlock system between the school and the gym and the entire school was evacuated as a precaution.

Police detained Terrell and students were back in class well before 9 a.m.

The press release says school district administration is reviewing security protocols and possible additions to its video surveillance.

Terrell - who was trespassed from the property - has a history of domestic violence according to Alaska court records, including a February arrest in Valdez for allegations of fourth degree domestic assault and criminal mischief.

He is also the subject of a number of civil protective orders dating back to 2015.


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