City of Santa Rosa, CA, CivicReady Public Safety Alerts & Notifications

SRPD News Release: Updates Regarding the Homicide at Montgomery High School & the Search for Larry Atchison

3/3/2023 - 7:07 PM

Updates Regarding the Homicide at Montgomery High School & the Search for Larry Atchison

Over the last week, the Santa Rosa Police Department has investigated several significant cases, including the homicide at Montgomery High School and the search for Larry Atchison. These investigations were in addition to the hundreds of other calls for services and community events we attended. Below are the updates for the homicide and the search for Larry Atchison.
Montgomery High School Homicide - Updates
On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, the Santa Rosa Police Department began investigating a homicide at Montgomery High School. One student was killed on campus and the suspect was caught and booked into the Juvenile Justice Center for homicide. For more information about the initial investigation, please click the following link:

Where the investigation is now
Detectives have been tirelessly investigating this homicide, including authoring and serving search warrants, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing hours of school surveillance footage and videos of the incident sent in from witnesses. More clarity about the events that occurred is now available.

Detectives believe there was an argument between two groups of students outside the art class where the stabbing occurred. The two 16-year-old victims were in one group and the 15-year-old suspect was in the other. Detectives are still investigating what the argument was about. The 15-year-old went into the art class right before class started. The two 16-year-olds came into the class after the class had begun.

One of the 16-year-olds stayed near the front of the classroom while the other 16-year-old confronted the 15-year-old. A physical fight ensued, and the 15-year-old brandished a knife. He stabbed the 16-year-old at least three times, once in the chest and twice in the back. School officials broke up the initial fight and the 16-year-old ran to the medical center for assistance. At this point, the other 16-year-old and the 15-year-old got into a physical fight and the 15-year-old stabbed the student at least once. The 16-year-old ran to the medical office and the 15-year-old fled from the school.

Both 16-year-olds were ultimately transported to a local hospital, but Jayden Jess Pienta passed away at the hospital. The other 16-year-old has been released from a local hospital. The 15-year-old suspect was arrested and booked into the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center for the following charges:
  • 187 PC – (Felony) Homicide
  • 664/187 PC – (Felony) Attempted Homicide
  • 626.10(a)(1) PC – (Felony) Weapon on a School Campus
  • 243.2(a)(1) PC – (Misdemeanor) Battery on a School Campus.

Search for Larry Atchison - Updates
Lawrence (aka "Larry") Atchison is still missing, and search operations have stopped for the night. Larry was last seen walking in the area of Summerfield Rd and Carissa Avenue on February 27, 2023, at 4:15 pm. For more information about the investigation so far, click the following link:

Larry is a 64-year-old white male, 6'00" tall, 200 pounds, with grey hair and brown eyes. Larry was last seen wearing a black Columbia jacket without a hood, dark blue jeans, and black slip-on shoes.

We are grateful for the community support and all the volunteers who have assisted with the search. We have not had any significant sightings or leads in several days and we are going to a limited search capacity with local resources. Tomorrow, weather dependent, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office volunteer dive team is going to walk creeks and waterways in the Bennett Valley area. If you live in the Bennett Valley area, please check anywhere on your property where someone might seek shelter (outbuildings, cars, underbrush, under porches, decks, etc.) and home security camera footage.  If you see Larry, please contact our Communications Center immediately at 707-528-5222.

We want to thank all the community volunteers and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit (BAMRU), and the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA), and California State Parks who have assisted with the search so far.

These are ongoing investigations by our Violent Crime Team and more information will be released when it is available. Media inquiries can be directed to Sergeant Christopher Mahurin at 707-975-0129 or