By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The woman arrested Tuesday evening after police say she pointed a gun at a man with his young child at a Park Street gas station is a special education teacher in the Madison Metropolitan School District, sources tell Empower Wisconsin.
Kelly Hayes, 37, of Madison, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon, recklessly endangering safety, and felony bail jumping.
According to the incident report, an unidentified 27-year-old man was at the BP convenience store at 318. S. Park St. with his child in a stroller when Hayes asked him for a pack of cigarettes. Reportedly displeased with the man’s response, Hayes started an argument. A bystander tried to intervene.
“For reasons unknown, the suspect then produced a handgun from her purse and with her finger on the trigger, pointed it at the victim causing him to fear for his safety and for the safety of his young child,” the police report states.
Hayes then got into her vehicle and fled the scene.
Madison Police officers and a sergeant arrived to investigate and were able to locate Hayes at her residence a short time later. She admitted that there was a handgun in her vehicle which was then searched by police, according to the incident report. After the handgun was located and seized, she was placed under arrest.
Hayes, according to a source, works as a special education assistant at the school district’s off-campus special education professional development center at 333 Holtzman Road. Before that, it appears Hayes was a special education assistant at Randall Elementary School.
A School district official confirms Hayes is currently employed with MMSD, but “her current work status is that she is on administrative leave without pay pending an investigation.”
In 2015, the University of Wisconsin-Madison did a feature story on Hayes, one of 12 UW Odyssey Project graduates trained to become special education paraprofessionals. The pilot program was sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies and Educational Outreach and Partnerships in conjunction with the Madison Metropolitan School District.
“… (A)s the class went on, and I had a chance to work in the schools with special needs kids, I started to understand that, with the right teachers and support staff, the sky is the limit for these kids. They may have to work a bit harder than the others, but they can do it,” Hayes said at the time.
In 2020, Hayes was arrested on charges of arson and criminal damage to property after police say she set her ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. A witness told responding officers that a woman, armed with a baseball bat, had broken out the car’s windows prior to dousing it with gas and setting it on fire. Another witness had gotten the license plate of the suspect’s car.
The incident was caught on video, which went viral.
“An angry arsonist quickly felt the result of lighting her ex-boyfriends truck on fire,” Great Britain’s Daily Mail reported. “Wild video circulating across social media shows a scorned woman dousing the car in gasoline before picking up a barbecue lighter to take to the Jeep minivan. But as soon as she lights the Jeep up, the minivan immediately lights up in flames, sending her flying back.”
According to court records, two of the charges — arson and criminal damage to property — were dismissed on the prosecutor’s motion. Hayes received deferred prosecution on two other charges — negligent handling of burning materials and disorderly conduct.
Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 22, 2022
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