LEMON GROVE (CBS 8) – A Lemon Grove school employee is facing 28 felony charges stemming from a bizarre incident after school this week.
Deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff's deputies say after-school assistant, Linda Lira, 31, barricaded herself in a classroom at Lemon Grove Academy with children and stripped down after they were freed.
The incident happened after school on Wednesday on the campus in the 7800 block of Golden Avenue in Lemon Grove.
“She had actually kept the students in the classroom against their will,” said Lt. Chris May, San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies say Lira was originally taken to the hospital because they thought she had a medical problem. She was cited for misdemeanor of being under the influence of drugs and was released. However, after interviewing the students and staff detectives learned a much more frightening and absurd story.
There were 14 students grades first through seventh who deputies say were trapped inside the classroom.
“They were very frightened, so much so they actually able to get the school radio and call for help,” said May.
The call alerted teachers who fought off Lira and evacuated the children from the classroom who were physically unharmed.
“The employees did a great job of protecting those kids and did a great job before it got any worse,” said May.
The after-school assistant's rage turned more bizarre when deputies say she started stripping off her clothes. The fire department had to call in deputies.
“The employee was actually barricaded in one of the classrooms and had thrown objects through the window at the fire department,” said May.
Deputies believe Lira was on drugs and hallucinating. They have not released what type of drugs. When deputies arrived they say she undressed and dressed herself again.
“She overturned some desks and tables,” said May.
Eventually Lira was taken to the hospital where she was checked out and cited for under the influence of drugs and released. Deputies arrested her on Thursday on 28 felony counts. 14 counts of child endangerment and 14 counts of false imprisonment.
CBS News 8 went by Lira's listed address. The man who answered the door said he was her father and that he didn't believe she was on drugs and had never done anything like this before. He confirmed her picture on Facebook.
Jail records show her arraignment has been scheduled for March 30 at 1:30. She is being held in the Las Colinas Detention Center. Her bail amount has been set at $2,100,000.