Police engage man with gun across the street from Highlands Elementary, shots fired as students leave school

A man is in custody after a confrontation with police following a report of shots fired in the vicinity of Highland Elementary that led to a lockdown at the school this afternoon.

KCTV5 was on the scene and reports that an officer involved shooting led to the injury of the suspect, who was then arrested. Video taken by the news station shows a man burst through the front door of the home at the corner of Roe Avenue and 62nd Street with a gun drawn. Subsequent audio captured gunfire, and the officers instructing the man to get down.

A man named Dylan Christopher Ruffin, whose address is listed as the home where the gunfire took place, was booked into Johnson County Jail for suspicion of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer after being arrested at 3:15 p.m. Friday.

The Shawnee Mission School District confirmed that no students or staff were injured in the event.

Shawnee Mission Chief Communications Officer David Smith said Highlands staff outside monitoring students on the playground thought they heard gunfire sometime around 1:20 p.m. They quickly escorted all of the students who were outside back into the building and alerted Shawnee Mission School District police, who in turn requested neighboring police departments respond to the scene as well. The school was placed on lockdown at that point, as officers began to try to identify the source of the gunfire.

Around 3 p.m., Smith said, the determination was made to proceed with dismissal as normal because the situation appeared to be stable. The dismissal was done in a “controlled manner,” Smith said, with children being escorted by staff to waiting cars. During the dismissal process, however, the suspect came out of the house and there was an exchange of gunfire.

Officers from the Mission Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department and responders from Consolidated Fire District No. 2 were on the scene.

The incident prompted a response from Sen. Barbara Bollier, who has been an advocate of gun violence legislation for several years:

And Superintendent Mike Fulton issued the following statement to parents via email Friday evening:

Dear Shawnee Mission School District patrons,

I am writing to let you know about an incident that took place earlier this afternoon at Highlands Elementary. While you may have heard about it on the news, we want to make sure you understand what happened. First, I want to emphasize that no one was hurt during this incident and that students and staff responded as trained.

Per the event, Highlands Elementary was placed on external lockdown this afternoon after staff, who were on the playground, heard the sound of gunfire. During a lockdown, all students and staff are brought inside and no one is allowed in or out until the lockdown is lifted. Both district and city police were called. They responded immediately and made sure that students and staff were safe.

Once the situation was under control, and in coordination with police who were on-site, we began to dismiss students to their parents. Dismissal was handled in a controlled environment, as an extra precaution, to ensure student, parent and staff safety. While dismissal was taking place, police engaged with an individual at a house across from the school. That engagement resulted in gunfire between that individual and police. We immediately brought everyone back into the school, until police announced that they had arrested that individual.

I want to emphasize that students, staff and parents were kept safe. Students and staff acted exactly as we have trained during our safety drills. I also want to thank both our local police department and our SMSD police officers for their guidance. This was a stressful situation, and everyone handled it professionally. Safety is our first priority and we will continue to do everything in our power to keep students and staff safe.

We will have social workers and counselors at the building on Monday to provide additional support to students and staff. While no one ever wants to experience something like this, I am proud of the way it was handled by our students, staff, and parents and grateful all were safe.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Fulton

Superintendent