Several arrests made for threats to New Mexico schools | KOB 4

Several arrests made for threats to New Mexico schools

J.R. Oppenheim, Marian Camacho, Kassi Nelson and Meg Hilling
February 23, 2018 01:50 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Police departments and school officials around the state report threats have been made to schools, leading to arrests in some cases.


These threats come more than one week after a gunman opened fire at a Florida high school and killed 17 people, sparking a new debate nationally over gun control, mental health and safety on campuses.

On Thursday afternoon, Albuquerque Public Schools Communications Director Monica Armenta said police arrested a Cibola High School student for a false security threat posted on social media.

Elsewhere in APS, Albuquerque High School Principal Tim McCorkle said two students and a former student were arrested earlier this week for taking guns onto the Albuquerque High School campus. In addition to the criminal charges, the two students face possible suspension or expulsion.

"In light of the mass shooting at a Florida high school last week, I understand that tensions are running high," McCorkle wrote in a Wednesday letter to parents. "But I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can at Albuquerque High School to keep students safe."

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In Belen, police say a student confessed to making threats that led to a two-hour delay at Belen High School Thursday morning.

KOB viewers sent KOB a social media post that threatened violence at Belen High School using an AR15. It said "prepare to see my wrath tomorrow" and "beware my a-r15 will be in my duffle bag and will happen when you least expect it."

Police say a 16-year-old 10th grader admitted he is responsible for making the threat. According to police, the suspect said he never intended to harm anyone and the threat was a hoax in order to get attention and see the response it would generate.

"I just think that it's not safe," student Isaiah Romero said. "It's not safe."

Parents don't blame the students for feeling uneasy.

"I want to just keep my kids home," parent Faith Chavez said. "It's scary, you know, and I'm still telling them, 'Hey, if you see somebody that's an outcast, pull them in. Bring them in. Try to be their friend. You don't know what their story is.'"

Jayme Harcrow, the public information officer for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office, said Wednesday a 17-year-old student confessed to writing a bomb threat in a bathroom at Kirtland Central High School. That student faces a fourth-degree felony charge.

Harcrow said such threats are occurring regularly at Kirtland Central.

San Juan County Undersheriff Shane Ferrari said the state needs stricter laws about threats to schools, and his office will use all necessary resources to investigate threats.

"We are currently working on a county unified prevention plan," he said. "In the meantime, speak to your children about the seriousness of these threats. Monitor your child's social media and cellphone use. If your child is combating mental health issues, please try to get them help."

Las Cruces High School was put on lockdown Thursday afternoon over an unsubstantiated threat, the school district said. Gadsden High School in Anthony also had a threat Wednesday.

"LCPD reminds users of social media to refrain from sharing or re-posting such posts as that can create unnecessary fear and the rapid spread of misinformation," Las Cruces Police Department Public Information Officer Dan Trujillo said. "Sharing and re-posting such information to social media also makes it more difficult for police to track the original post."

Alamogordo High School had extra officers on campus Thursday morning over a possible threat of a shooting, district Communication Specialist Monica Steeby said. That person is also in police custody, she said, and there is no immediate threat at this time.

Los Lunas School Superintendent Dana Sanders addressed some hysteria caused by a Snapchat message that has been circulating warning students not to go to school.

Sanders sent a letter to the community Thursday morning saying a Snapchat message that has been circulating in multiple schools throughout the week, has also circulated in the city of Los Lunas.

Sanders said they are committed to keeping children and staff safe and have measures in place to make sure that happens. She said all threats are taken seriously and they will work with law enforcement to find those responsible for making such threats.

Sanders said anyone with information regarding the threat should contact the Los Lunas Police Department by calling (505) 865-9130 or the Schools Director of Safety and Security at (505) 866-8282.

Read the full letter here.

Farmington Police Department officer Brandon Hardy is working hard to establish strong relationships with students at Farmington High School in light of these recent threats statewide.

"I think favorite part of the job is probably getting to know the kids and getting to see an impact on their lives. I mean, I've had kids were they've been in trouble and I feel like I've gotten to be some kind of good influence for them," Hardy said. "I mean it is definitely concerning. I think all of the ones that have come up, we've addressed to the best of our ability. And I think we've done a good job as far as keeping everyone safe so far.  I mean we have to take each one as it comes."

Like many school resource officers in New Mexico, Hardy is the only law enforcement officer on his school's campus. Because of his singular presence, Hardy said it's important students communicate with their school resource officers.

"I think it comes back to, if you see something, say thing something," he said. "I think the inflow of information to school staff and to me is the best way to maintain a safe school environment."


J.R. Oppenheim, Marian Camacho, Kassi Nelson and Meg Hilling

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved



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