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Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 @ 12:00 AM
By: Wayne Baker - Staff Writer
WASHINGTON TWP. — A man shot by police in 2017 recently showed up uninvited to a closed meeting for Incarnation School in Washington Twp.
Although he committed no crime and later was deemed not to be a threat, the incident triggered a discussion about how the public and law enforcement should handle incidents when potential mental health or safety issues are involved, especially in light of the recent mass shooting in the Oregon District.
According to a memo from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office obtained by WHIO-TV, Austin Linker, 18, arrived at the parish activities center at Incarnation Catholic Church last week during a closed Incarnation School teacher in-service-training session. He was asked to leave. He did so and made no attempt to enter the school.
Classes begin there Wednesday.
In 2017, two Centerville police officers shot Linker after he brandished a “replica gun” at them. Investigators determined he wanted to commit suicide by cop.
School officials sent a letter to parents this week that addressed Linker’s visit to the building. In it, they said, “No threat has been made to Incarnation School or Parish.”
They stressed the school “is in a perpetual state of lockdown.”
Officer John Davis told WHIO-TV that law enforcement knows where Linker is and there is no indication he has done anything wrong, but they are monitoring the situation.
In the 2017 shooting, Centerville officers near the police station and library came upon a teen who pointed a gun at them. The officers shot and wounded the teen when he refused to drop the weapon.
The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing and Linker has “served his punishment” since, according to deputies.
In light of the Aug. 4 mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District that claimed the lives of nine people, the interest in addressing mental health and challenging situations that arise when residents or employees encounter a crisis came to light during the incident at the Incarnation School.
Davis explained that the idea of “seeing something and saying something” is important, but it is in no way a vehicle to unfairly target innocent people.
According to the Incarnation letter, the church will counsel Linker but he is not allowed at the school.