Raymond Walker: Man charged with starting fight at kindergarten graduation ceremony turns himself in

Fight panicked parents, kids in crowded gymasium

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio - The man charged with starting a fight at a kindergarten graduation ceremony, panicking parents and children in a crowded school gymnasium, remained in jail after a judge set bond at $50,000 Friday.

Raymond Walker turned himself in Thursday - three days after the attack at North Elementary School.

Watch the fight in the video player above.

Surveillance video appears to show Walker, wearing a black shirt, rushing a man in a chair. That man is the boyfriend of the mother of Walker's two children.

Walker punches the man several times and throws him to the floor as other parents cower with their children or flee in fear.

The fight resulted in the school being put on lockdown.

It was "pretty scary," but it was not a brawl, the superintendent of Mount Healthy schools said Thursday.

She called it a domestic violence situation.

"It was pretty scary because the parents in there at that time didn't know what was going on," said superintendent Lori Handler. "Obviously, it was a celebration of graduation. Our staff did a good job of protecting themselves and the students and the other parents. So, that's what it was.

"There were not multiple people involved. It was those two gentlemen."

WCPO's Jason Law spoke with the woman whose boyfriend was attacked. She said they are doing fine, but they had no interest in being interviewed.

Walker, 33, has had several run-ins with the law and served nine months in prison for attempting to escape police in Springfield Township. Court documents show he struck a tree and seriously injured a passenger during the chase in April 2003.

Walker has also been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, possession of an open flask, being in a park after hours and driving without a license.

At least one of Walker's children attends the school.

The children had just performed when the attack took place.

"It was horrible," said parent Kim Calai. "I'm standing there, and all of a sudden this rush of people throwing punches is coming at me."

"There was a gentleman who was carrying a newborn that got hit,” she said.

Stacy Liggett, who was there when the fight broke out, said people were pushing one another.

"You could tell from the beginning that something was going to happen," Liggett said. "It sickens me."

Liggett  said she was worried about the safety of the children nearby.

"These kids were robbed of their special day - their kindergarten graduation. It's not right," Liggett said. "I am not blaming the school one bit, but with that many students, you are going to have a lot of parents and family attending.

"It was out of control."

Calai said she heard that the fight started over a parent not being able to see his child.

She said her son had a lot of questions about the incident.

“When we were leaving, he kept asking me, ‘Why are the police here? What are the police doing here? Why are they here?’ "Calai said. “To have something like that happen at a graduation is pretty pathetic."

Six police cruisers and Handler responded to the scene shortly after the accident.

Officials said the school was placed on lockdown and students were told to take shelter in their classrooms. 

Walker was charged with assault and inducing panic.

"(Walker was charged) because it occurred on school grounds, created an alarm to all the individuals, caused the lockdown and caused the evacuation,” Springfield Police Sgt. Scott Hughes said. “This was more than just a couple people fighting."

Handler said school leaders want Walker prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

“The idea that somebody could come in and incite and cause a scene at this particular time when there are 5-year-olds here made me so angry and sad," she said.

WCPO's Jason Law, Maxim Alter, Scott Wegener and Tom McKee contributed to this report.
 

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