Man disrupts elementary school while running from cops

On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, Safford police were alerted to male subject, wearing khaki pants and a black hoodie, who was suspected of being in possession of a stolen bike. An officer located a man matching the description in the 1100 block of 9th Avenue. The man had a brown BMX type bike that had recently been painted.

The man’s hands were shaking, and he appeared to be nervous as he talked with the officer. He verbally identified himself as Oscar Leonard. When asked about the bicycle, Leonard said that it belonged to a friend.

The officer noticed a large bulge in Leonard’s pocket and asked if he had any weapons. Leonard said that he did not have any weapons. When asked what was in his pockets, he said, “nothing,” then stated that he had 4th amendment rights. Leonard sat down while talking to the officer. When asked to stand up, Leonard took off running west on 11 Street. The officer alerted other officials of Leonard’s direction of travel.

Leonard ran inside the fenced area of Lafe Nelson School. The school was immediately placed in lock down. Leonard managed to climb over the schoolyard fence on 10th Avenue and was taken into custody by a Safford Detective. Leonard was placed into a patrol vehicle and advised he was under arrest for disrupting a school. Lafe Nelson School was in lockdown for about 20 minutes while officers checked the school grounds.

The bulging object in Leonard’s pockets turned out to be a bicycle tire tube. School surveillance cameras were checked to make sure Leonard didn’t discard any items on the school grounds.

When asked why he ran, Leonard said that he had a warrant for his arrest. Authorities confirmed that Leonard had a warrant out of Morenci but it was non-extraditable.

Leonard admitted that he had stolen the bicycle. A Safford detective was able to find the owner of the bicycle and met them at their place of employment. The bike had apparently been stolen the day prior. Initially, the bike owner did not want to press charges, but later contacted the police department and said they wanted to pursue charges for the bike theft.

Leonard was cited at the scene for disruption of an educational facility and released. Charges for the bike theft are pending.