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SCHOOL THREAT: Man Taken Into Police Custody

Des Moines police have captured a man after a two hour manhunt in Des Moines Tuesday afternoon.

Police say 35-year old Ryan Collier allegedly made a threat about using a gun while at Merrill Middle School Tuesday.

The incident began around 2:15 p.m. when, police say, Collier and his girlfriend were fighting at home. The woman then said she was going to go pick up the kids at Merrill Middle School, located at 5301 Grand Avenue. Collier followed the woman and they began arguing inside the school.

A school administrator tried to break up the fight and that’s when Collier allegedly said he had a gun and threatened to use it. Police say no one saw a weapon.

The school resource officer called for back-up and once Collier heard the school was being locked down he fled. Police say he ran northeast of the school.

The school was placed on lockdown twice but that was lifted after Collier was eventually arrested just blocks away.

The 35-year old was located in the backyard of a home in the 5100 block of Country Club Boulevard in the Waterbury neighborhood of Des Moines.

He was taken into custody at around 4:15 p.m., two hours after the manhunt began.

Our crews filmed the scene as police surrounded Collier. The suspect asked, “I would like to know what I’m being arrested for,” as he was being arrested.

Several local law enforcement agencies helped Des Moines police with the search for Collier.

Merrill Middle School principal, Alex Hanna, praised the police response and says fear didn’t play a part.

“I think about the safety, I think about my kid, he went to this school,” Hanna said.

“I think about the security of this building. I don’t really think about the fear of this, it doesn’t really enter to this. I just act in terms of what I would want to do, or what I would want someone else to do if my son was still in the building and all 710 of our kids.”

Hanawalt, Hubbell, and Greenwood elementary schools and Roosevelt High School were also placed on lockdown because of the incident. Students were eventually allowed to leave once Collier was arrested.

Roosevelt High parents were notified about the lockdown by an email from principal, Kevin Biggs.

Collier is in the Polk County jail charged with harassment, domestic assault and interference with official acts.

15 comments

  • Dustin

    This is heartbreaking to see for me personally. This man is one of my best friends and yet I have to sit here and watch you and your news station portray him like some kind of small town terrorist. This man has served his time in the military fighting for this country and clearly has had his bouts with P.T.S.D. yet now it is that tick that is being used to parade him around like some kind of mad man! Its insane!!! This could happen to anyone!!!! Just listen to what the report is saying!!! No gun was seen nor found and if you listen a little closer it sounds as if nobody actually heard him make the threat. Am I missing something? Of course I am… He’s black… Nobody is going to question it…. Except me!!! A white man!!!! Regardless what happened was still just words and now you’ve got 5 schools freaking out worrying about their safety thanks to you guys reporting it like this! You make me sick and I plan to get to the bottom of this and provide the other half of the story because I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch you parade my friend around like some kind of animal who came to the school to terrorize children! Shame on you and anyone else who wants to accuse or defame people who are not even yet proven guilty! You’re ruining this mans reputation and credibility and not even giving him the right to say his side of the story!!!! Guilty until proven innocent? I’d say the media already made their judgement! Just remember that when it happens to you or someone you care about… I’m tired of all these lies and terrorist propaganda! You know damn well if you reported this story as a domestic dispute that got out of hand nobody would be losing sleep but you do this because it gets more publicity and that is sickening!

    • michelle

      Des Moines media has a bad habit of portraying people falsely and making things bigger than they really are.

    • Feul

      I agree completely, Dustin. This is media sensationalism that spins an argument into a fake terrorism situation. The media will do anything they can to twist a story to fit their agenda. And right now, the agenda is disarming people. Any way to work guns into a story mans these people get paid by the true forces behind the agenda. Nothing is reported in truth and honest. Only in propaganda. It’s sick.

    • Gene k

      They have to make a big issue out of nothing. The media isn’t happy unless they can come up with a gun story. They are a bunch of idiots. They don’t care who they hurt just so they can make a big issue out of it.

  • Dan Fish

    Dustin, I would feel shocked and angry and all of that, too, if I were friends with this person. It would be difficult to comprehend. It’s perfectly understandable that you want to come to the defense of Mr. Collier.

    That said, I am not sure that at this early stage, media outlets are purposefully trying to slander his character. Who knows exactly what Mr. Collier uttered? It is assumed that 1) he followed someone into the school, who apparently didn’t want him around her; and 2) he made (or implied) some sort of verbal threat towards the woman or towards people in the school or both.

    The bottom line is that the school staff felt there was a serious threat coming from this man. In the moment, for that school staff, it didn’t matter if this man is a military hero. It didn’t matter if he really WAS joking or bluffing about pulling a gun. It didn’t matter if he was black, white, whatever – all that matters in that split-second is that they MUST take any and all threats seriously as though everyone’s lives depended on it. Not trying to be sarcastic, but if a teacher in my child’s kindergarten class is approached by a perpetrator that they fear may have a gun, I don’t want that teacher to ask the perpetrator if he has a criminal record, or if he’s a veteran, what his credit score is. I don’t want the teacher to administer a psychological exam. I want that guy OUT and I want the teacher to keep my kids safe, JUST IN CASE the threats are for real.

    The countless tragedies that have taken place in schools and public places across the country have many of us on high alert, so there is a lot of caution exercised in and around schools. It’s for good reason. Those reasons include: Newtown, Ct…Aurora, CO…Columbine…Boston Marathon…etc. etc. etc.

    Mr. Collier will have his day in court. Until then, unfortunately, people are going to draw their own conclusions (accurate or not), and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that. You’ll just have to trust that the system will work the way it’s supposed to.

    • Dustin

      Dan,

      I appreciate you trying to understand. You are clearly a rational human being still and I really do appreciate that as rare as it is! I’m not trying to say he shouldn’t be held responsible for any crimes he is convicted of to anyone nor am I trying to justify his behavior. I’m just trying to keep people from letting sensationalism turn their fears into intolerance or manifest into some hateful lynch mob. Things like this could very well translate into a life long mistake that was drastically blown out of proportion and the only person left to experience the result of that will be him. Can you imagine if a bad day of yours manifested into something like that? Probably not because most people don’t do things that stupid but sadly it does happen. The question is, is it worth ruining someones life over?

      The media is constantly fueling hatred by doing stories like this and people don’t need that kind of fear mongering and stress in their lives right now! Especially with our government acting like they have been! We need to trust that the court and policeman involved will do a full and unbiased investigation and the truth will be confirmed by the best evidence, and then a proper verdict be reached. Until then I will step up and call foul where I see it even if I’m the only one. I don’t believe this situation was as severe as people think and I in no way mean that as a pun to anyone who may have been affected by what transpired, I just think if it had been reported the way it happened most people wouldn’t be saying the hateful things they are. So many are eager to judge yet nothing but alarm and fear came about.

      That being said I do agree it was very stupid, and as a parent can I understand how others might feel because I’ve asked myself that question and the answer is, absolutely no different than any of you. Does that mean we should parade people around like that based off of testimony alone? I don’t think so. I’d like to have the facts and the bias made a little more obvious than what I saw here. As far as people being scared or upset though, have any of them asked themselves what triggered them to have THAT opinion? Was it this incident? Maybe how it was reported? Might it have been the fleet of police cars with a blockade or the men with semiautomatic rifles combing our small midwestern streets? Perhaps it was the fact that they shut down 5 schools? Maybe because there was report of a man with a gun on the loose? It makes all so real! I understand how you feel as a parent because I am also a parent. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to my own son nor anyone else’s children. I am sincerely glad nothing happened, and I am just asking that people keep an open mind and let the system do their job.

      Fact is though, no matter what the verdict is now, he’s gonna have to deal with this media blemish on his record forever. People might forget but the internet won’t. I ask that everyone please try and understand what I’m saying because these things can affect any of us and hatred and fear is toxic and begets more hatred! Are we just supposed to shame everyone now before their day in court? I think we need to stay human. Sometimes it really does seem like thats too much to ask in this secular money driven world, but I know if I put it out there someone is gonna pick up on what I’m saying. I’m just being real with you all. I’m sorry about your fears and worries but I can confidently say that I know my friend is sorry. Thanks for trying to understand!

  • CW

    I’D BE EMBARRASED TO CALL HIM A FRIEND, LET ALONE AN AQUANTIANCE. REGARDLESS OF IF HE HAD A GUN OR NOT, HE MADE A THREAT-HE NOW HAS TO FACE THE CONSEQUENCES. SURE THE KIDS WERE SAFE, BUT AT THE TIME, THEY DIDNT KNOW, THE PARENTS (ME) DIDNT KNOW, ITS YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE ALL BECAUSE SOMEONE HAD A “BAD DAY”. I AM DISGUSTED THAT PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO DOWNPLAY THE SEVERITY OF HIS ACTIONS, ITS NOT NORMAL AND ITS SAD THE KIDS HAD TO EVER ENCOUNTER SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

    • Dustin

      I’m not embarrassed to call him my friend. I’m embarrassed that I have to tell people like you how to be a decent human beings. I understand you are upset and I am sorry for that. However you are letting your fear and hate guide you. We’ve got enough of that in this world.

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