ARCADIA (CBSLA.com) — Students and faculty at Arroyo Pacific Academy are reacting after a high school teacher was arrested for allegedly kidnapping three students and threatening them with a knife.
John Maust was arrested Sunday on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment and making criminal threats.
Maust teaches physical education and social studies at the school, where KCAL9’s Joy Benedict reports he’s been employed for ten years.
Arriving for summer school classes Monday, students and their parents said they are both surprised and saddened.
“I thought he was a nice teacher. It’s kind of surprising,” one student said, another adding that Maust’s arrest was “not believable.”
“It’s scary. We get our kids to private school to be more safe,” a parent added.
Arroyo Academy President Phillip Clark echoed their sentiments, but said his thoughts are with the teacher in a statement.
“We are immensely saddened by the story we heard yesterday. We have been in contact with the parents of the students involved and are assured of their safety,” Clark said, adding, “Our teacher, Mr. Maust, is a longtime well-beloved member of our faculty and our hearts and prayers go to him in this moment of his crisis.”
Police say three teenagers saw Maust in Altadena Saturday night on the sidewalk and offered him a ride. But while in the car police say Maust made a threatening remark prompting the students to get out of the car.
Police say Maust then asked the teens to take him to Jack in the Box but when they got back in the car Maust had a knife. One teen called 911 and Maust took off on foot. He turned himself into authorities on Sunday.
Maust was booked at Crescenta Valley Station and is being held in lieu of $300,000 bond. He has been suspended indefinitely with pay.
He is scheduled to appear in a Pasadena courtroom Tuesday.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the LASD Altadena Station Detective Bureau, Detective Taylor, at (626)798-1131.