A Maryland man arrested on assault charges at a popular Virginia park last week is an elementary school teacher, according to Prince George’s County Public Schools.
A spokesperson said that since 2014, Michael Pruden has taught at Allenwood Elementary School in Camp Springs; Apple Grove Elementary School in Fort Washington; Samuel Chase Elementary School in Temple Hills; and Valley View Elementary School in Oxon Hill.
“He was placed on administrative leave on May 11,” said the district’s acting media relations director, Meghan Gebreselassie. “We don’t expect him to return this school year.”
The 47-year-old Fort Washington man was arrested May 7 for assault with a dangerous weapon, in connection with a reported attack on Daingerfield Island, a popular sailing and fishing destination outside Alexandria, Virginia.
Pruden is accused of confronting two people on a wooden trail, and of hitting one with a stick and then pepper-spraying him, according to a statement U.S. Park Police issued Friday.
Authorities also believe Pruden could be responsible for similar assaults in D.C.’s Meridian Hill Park, where the attacker would confront people after park hours, falsely identify himself as a police officer and either pepper spray the victims, attack them with a flashlight or do both.
“USPP detectives are working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia on criminal charges referencing those assaults,” the news release stated.
Anyone with information on the Meridian Hill Park attacks is asked to call Park Police at 202-610-8737, or to submit an anonymous tip line by emailing USPP_tipline@nps.gov.