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Aurora West principal resigns after dean allegedly brought gun to school, made multiple threats

Audit found principal delayed school lockdown
Posted at 11:25 AM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-14 14:18:50-04

AURORA, Colo. — The principal of Aurora West College Preparatory Academy has resigned after the dean of the school allegedly brought a gun to campus and threatened school officials.

Aurora Public Schools (APS) announced Tuesday morning that Principal Taisiya Tselolikhina had resigned.

According to an audit from APS, after the dean's threat on April 3, Tselolikhina was partially responsible for the delay on putting the school on lockdown by 14 minutes. In this case, Tselolikhina stated she didn’t want to put the school on lockdown because she didn’t want to make a scene, according to the audit. This also confused the dispatcher she spoke with, who wasn’t sure how severe the risk was when she called to report the dean had the gun on campus.

The incident started on April 2, when Tselolikhina and Dean Tushar Rae had some sort of argument, according to police documents. The next day, Rae didn’t show up for school but asked Tselolikhina to meet him there.

Around 2 p.m., once they were in an office, he closed the door, pulled a handgun out of his waistband and put it on the desk, according to an arrest affidavit.

“You shouldn’t have said what you said,” he allegedly told Teslolikhina. “I don’t want to hurt you. I’m going to hurt all the people around you.”

He also threatened to “shoot the kneecaps off” two other staff members.

It's unclear when this conversation ended, but shortly after 3 p.m., Tselolikhina called the APS Security Office and reported that Rae had a gun and seemed agitated. Security asked her to put the school on a lockdown, which she refused to do, noting she did “not want to make a scene,” according to the APS audit. Officers were dispatched to the school and started investigating. Meanwhile, Rae had left the property, but was located by Denver police officers.

He was arrested that same day and posted bond. He was re-arrested the following day, April 4, in Denver on suspicion of felony menacing and false imprisonment charges. The original charges were dropped when he appeared in court for the latter charges on April 10. He posted the $200,000 bond after his appearance but was arrested a third time on suspicion of felony menacing and false imprisonment charges.

On April 15, Rae was charged in an Arapahoe County courtroom with attempted first-degree assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury, attempted first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon on school grounds and carrying a concealed weapon.

Tselolikhina had meetings with staff in the days after the incident at the school where she provided details that could have compromised the Aurora Police Department’s investigation, according to the school’s report.

She was placed on administrative leave sometime after the incident.

On April 24, Rae was formally charged in connection to a separate incident.

In this case, prosecutors said Rae was in his apartment on May 1 with a woman when he pointed a handgun — the same one he allegedly brought to the school — at her chest, moved it to the side and fired it, according to prosecutors. The woman fled from the scene and did not report it because she didn’t want Rae to get in trouble. Six days later, the same person was in his apartment and when she tried to leave, Rae blocked her. When she tried to leave through a garage door, he allegedly grabbed her arm, dragged her to the front of the house and threw her on a couch.

He was charged with felony menacing, kidnapping, false imprisonment and prohibited use of a weapon in this incident.