SANTA FE – Three Santa Fe High School students were arrested Wednesday and Thursday for a letter that described plans for a school shooting, which the arrested students maintained was only a joke.
Teenagers Aaron Encinias, Santiago Trujillo and Julian Carter face charges including “engaging in terrorist activity.”
All three students told police they thought of the letter as a joke. Other students found the letter Tuesday and notified school officials, according to Santa Fe Public Schools spokesman Jeff Gephart.
According to police reports, Encinias admitted to creating the letter with a list of student and teachers names that were intended “targets.”
It also included a map of the school showing where the shootings would take place and noting the best location in the school to kill; instructions on what to do during the shooting and afterward, like bringing extra clothes to help keep him from being caught and killing himself in the end; and derogatory comments about the school, students and teachers, including racial and homophobic slurs.
The letter also included statements like “I love being a school shooter it’s awesome” and “Just want to get an awesome kill count.” Detectives were led to Encinias because he signed the letter with his first name and his handwriting matched. He told police his “close friends” Trujillo and Carter conspired with him, the police reports say.
The arrested students are in the range of 14 or 15 years old. The police reports, which do not include the students’ exact ages, say Encinias was born in 2003 and Trujillo and Carter were born in 2002.
Trujillo and Carter admitted to knowing and viewing the letter but not writing any of it. Trujillo told police he told Encinias to add one student’s name to the target list, according to the police accounts. But both Trujillo and Carter said they also told Encinias to add their own names.
Carter told police that the two others discussed the list in class and then talked about it again in class about a week later.
A police press release says the school district notified those named in the list. Gephart told the Journal Thursday afternoon that all Santa Fe High parents of the police investigation Wednesday via robocall. The police reports state that the “fear of violence and potential loss of life” led some parents to take their kids out of school.
“Keeping everyone safe is of the upmost importance,” Gephart told the Journal. “We appreciate the students who brought this to our attention.”
The police reports don’t say if the teens are currently incarcerated. Police spokesperson Greg Gurule said he did not know if the three students have had previous arrests or run-ins with law enforcement.