On Monday, January 27th, 2020 around 1:50pm Deputies from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office in collaboration with Officer’s from the Mill Valley Police Department and multiple other Marin County Law Enforcement agencies responded to reports of an subject seen with an AK47 style rifle near Tam High School.
At the conclusion of the incident and after additional witness interviews, it was determined this incident occurred in Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction. The person reportedly armed with a gun and wearing a mask was seen on the border of school grounds. During the initial response, a Deputy was circling the area looking for a white vehicle, possibly a truck or a sedan, that was reported to be associated with the man with a gun. The Deputy located a vehicle in the Good Earth Parking lot in Tam Junction and ran the license plate that came back to a rental vehicle. The Deputy looked inside the vehicle and did not see anything suspicious, but noted the location of the vehicle and the license plate.
The following day, we were contacted by a witness who was aware of Tam High School incident. This witness reported running into a man in the good earth parking lot who pulled a mask down over his face after asking why there was such a large police presence in the area. Ultimately, it was the Deputy locating the vehicle and running the license plate, additional investigation by Detectives with the rental car company and the witness coming forward that led us to identifying Michael Kessler, a 21 year old male from Fairfield, CA as the person responsible for the large police response.
Detectives worked tirelessly to identify and locate Kessler. Late last night, after countless interviews with Witnesses and Kessler, Detectives were able to locate the AK47, which was determined to be a replica AK47 airsoft gun with electrical tape placed over the orange tip. The AK47 replica airsoft was discarded in bushes near a relatives residence in Mill Valley. Kessler admitted to using the airsoft gun and mask to shoot a Snapchat video near Tam High School.
Kessler admitted to following our social media pages during the large police response.
Kessler was arrested on the following charges:
626.10 (A) PC – Possession of weapon near school grounds
135 PC – Destroy/Conceal evidence
417.4 PC – Brandish replica firearm
12556(A) PC – Unlawful display of imitation firearm
20510 (A) PC – Change markings on imitation firearm
We have no reason to believe Kessler, who was a former student at Tam High School, intended on performing an act of violence on Tam High school. Kessler was aware of the fear his actions caused the public, Tam High School Students and was remorseful.
We would like to thank the community for coming together and working with Law Enforcement to help us identify the person responsible for causing such panic in our community. We are greatly appreciative of the citizens saying something when they saw something.
If there are any additional witnesses to this incident, we are asking that they contact the Marin County Sheriff’s Office Investigations unit at (415) 473-7265
This is a great example of a people coming forward when they see something suspicious. We encourage the public, if you see something suspicious, say something.