WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) — A man who allegedly pointed a gun at a school employee in West Hollywood is now facing multiple charges.
Vahe Armen, 32, was charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon or means likely to cause serious bodily injury to a school employee and one count of assault with a weapon on school grounds – grades K-12, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced.
During a news conference Monday, Gascón said Armen allegedly drove into the drop-off area at Larchmont Charter Elementary School Thursday morning and pointed a gun at a school custodian.
“The school administrator was standing at the front directing traffic and supposedly saw [Armen] “She gets out of the vehicle and points a gun at her,” the prosecutor said. “She quickly took action and led the children into the building when the man allegedly got back in his car and drove away.”
Armen was eventually found and arrested in the 6800 block of Sunset Boulevard in the Hollywood area. Gascón said officers also reportedly found a weapon in Armen’s vehicle, which the prosecutor said was a pellet gun.
“We are fortunate that the weapon in this case was a pellet gun and not an AR-15 and the defendant did not pull the trigger,” he said.
Gascón said Armen was also charged in another incident involving an elderly uncle. In that case, he faces one count of assaulting an elder and one count of discouraging a witness from reporting a crime. He faces special accusations on all counts.
Sara Riff, a mother at Larchmont Charter School, also spoke out during Monday’s press conference, saying there are no words to describe what she went through that day.
“… Responding to a call of this nature in real time and seeing this scene in your own school is a living nightmare,” she said.
According to an email from the charter school to parents and families, security cameras captured footage that led authorities to find the suspect.
Surveillance video shared by parents at Larchmont Charter School in West Hollywood appears to show a man pointing a rifle in a campus parking lot.
“I feel so blessed and lucky today that we were the lucky ones who got to bring our children home, and for everyone who saw the video of that man with the gun and imagines it at their own child’s school is unreasonable.” she said.
Armen is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon. He is currently being held on $5 million bail.
If convicted as charged, Armen faces a maximum sentence of seven years and four months in state prison.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.