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District releases surveillance video of attempted kidnapping at Black Forest Hills Elementary in Aurora

Principal out at Black Forest Hills Elementary after incident
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Posted at 10:46 AM, May 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 08:26:42-04

AURORA, Colo. — Denver7 obtained on Saturday surveillance video showing an attempted kidnapping of a boy at a Cherry Creek elementary school in Aurora last month.

The incident happened on April 19 during recess as children were playing in a field at Black Forest Hills Elementary, located at 25233 E. Glasgow Drive.

Aurora police arrested the suspect and registered sex offender — 33-year-old Solomon Galligan — shortly after the incident. He was booked for attempted second-degree kidnapping.

Galligan was on probation for failure to register as a sex offender. He was convicted in late December 2011 for non-consent sexual contact in Denver, according to a background check.

Surveillance video shows the suspect entering school property from the south and then lunging at the victim while children were playing on the field. Galligan was wearing a blue hoodie with dark pants and was holding a white blanket, surveillance video showed.

District releases surveillance video of attempted kidnapping at Black Forest Hills Elementary in Aurora

The boy is able to escape after Galligan trips over the blanket he is holding and falls to the ground as he attempts to walk toward the group of children a second time. The children yelled “stranger danger” as they ran toward the teacher assistants on the field, according to a probable cause statement.

The video then shows two staff members yelling at the suspect to get off the field as they approach Galligan. The suspect then exits the field through a three-foot high, split rail fence that separates a public sidewalk from school property.

Based on witness statements and surveillance video, police identified the suspect as a Black man wearing a blue hoodie with letters on it, who had long dreadlocks and dark pants. The children also told police he had white powder on his face, and that he “smelled like alcohol.”

A parent later told school staff that they saw a man matching the suspect’s description at the Walgreens located at 24250 E. Smokey Hill Rd., which is located about 2 miles northwest of the elementary school.

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Sex offender tried to kidnap boy at elementary school in Aurora, police say

Óscar Contreras
1:25 PM, Apr 22, 2024

Galligan was taken into custody and taken to Adventhealth Hospital, where staff said he was admitted “for suicidal ideations,” according to the arrest affidavit.

In a letter to parents, an official with the Cherry Creek School District asked parents to remind their children to be watchful as they walked to and from school, to walk in pairs or with friends, and to avoid talking with and to never accept a ride from strangers. The official reminded students to report anything suspicious to police or a trusted adult.

Principal out at Black Forest Hills Elementary after incident

On Friday, district officials informed parents in an email that they have decided to “make an administrative change at Black Forest Hills and have appointed an acting principal to serve in the final month.”

The email to parents states that the district’s investigation into the attempted kidnapping incident has revealed information that led them to the decision to release Amanda Replogle, the school’s principal at the time of the incident. Her name and employment status were not mentioned in the letter.

The email did not provide details behind the district’s decision, stating only, “We are making that change now so that we can move forward with the final weeks of the school year in a positive and productive way.”

The district appointed Chuck Puga, the former principal of Smoky Hill High School, as acting principal at Black Forest Hills Elementary through the end of this school year. Midge Eidson, a former longtime elementary principal in the district, will serve as assistant principal.

The district said the school’s current assistant principal, Cyndi Burdick, will remain at the school for the remainder of the year, although her role was not specified in the email.

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