Suspect arrested after allegedly shooting at Foster School

Sweet Home police on Wednesday, June 14, arrested a man who allegedly shot bullets into Foster School during Spring Break.

According to a Police Department statement, David Picray, 74, was arrested at his residence, 5400 Quince St., directly across the street from the school, immediately after he was released from a mental health hold that began in mid-March.

Picray was charged with unlawful ue of a weapon and second-degree criminal mischief, police said. He was lodged in Linn County Jail.

The incident began at approximately 7:43 a.m. on Sunday morning, March 19, when a Sweet Home Police Department officer heard what sounded like a gunshot in the area of 54th Avenue and Quince Street. The school is bordered by Quince and Poplar streets and 54th Avenue.

Police said the officer, who was not identified, conducted an area check and contacted nearby residents but was unable to determine the location or source of the noise. The officer checked the area and contacted nearby residents, but was unable to determine the location or source of the noise at the time. Later that morning, a citizen reported that the resident at 5400 Quince St., now identified as Picray, was experiencing a mental health crisis. Officers responded and ultimately placed him in protective custody for a mental-health hold.

During further investigation, Police Chief Jason Ogden said, officers noticed multiple holes in a window of the residence and corresponding holes in the side of the Foster Elementary School building across the street.

Neither the police nor the school district announced that the incident occurred until more than a month later, on April 25, other than some very vague language in the daily log that chronicles police activities.

Following public outcry, Ogden and school officials acknowledged that the matter should have been made public sooner.

Schools Supt. Terry Martin agreed with Ogden that the situation was complicated by new details that arose as time progressed following the initial investigation: “who discharged, where the discharge went, the actual investigation, as well as the police balancing the individual’s right to privacy.”

City Manager Kelcey Young told School Board members at their May 8 meeting that she had met with Supt. Terry Martin, District Business Manager Kevin Strong and Sweet Home Police Chief Jason Ogden to discuss ways to improve communication with the community following the incident.

Police said, following Picray’s arrest, that the case is being sent to the Linn County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution and that the school district had been apprised of the new developments.