SANTA FE – A student charged with drawing up plan for a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School has acknowledged he would have gone through with the killing spree if he had access to a gun, a police spokesman said Tuesday.
In police reports released last week, Aaron Encinias, about 15 years old, was quoted as telling officers that the shooting plan — complete with a map and a list of teachers and students to kill — was meant as a prank.
But the teen’s story changed, according to SFPD’s Greg Gurule. Encinias eventually told investigators that he “drafted the map and intended to follow up with the plan, but he didn’t have a gun to do it,” Gurule said.
Gurule was not sure when Encinias changed his story but said cases can evolve. He said Encinias “opened up” to investigators and told them he had been bullied by some of the people listed on his kill list.
Other students found the plan for the shooting — which included racist and homophobic slurs — on folded paper on the ground at the Santa Fe High campus on Nov. 7. They gave it to a teacher.
Encinias and two students he’d shown the plan to — Santiago Trujillo and Julian Carter — were arrested last week and charged with conspiring to engage in terrorist activity.
At a court hearing Tuesday, the charges against Trujillo and Carter, who told police they thought Encinias’ plan was a joke, were dropped by prosecutors. But District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer decided Encinias, who teared up in court, was too dangerous to be out in the public and ordered that he continue to be held in a youth detention center until trial.
District Attorney Marco Serna issued a statement after the court hearing saying, “Thanks to the quick actions of Santa Fe Public Schools and first responders, we prevented what could have been a horrific tragedy.”
A second school “shooting plan” was found last week on the parking lot of a south Santa Fe apartment complex. Gurule said Tuesday that Encinias has admitted to police that he also wrote that plan. A “documented confidential informant” found it and turned it over to the police Thursday, a police report states.
In court Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Jason Lidyard said Encinias had created a scheme to carry out a mass shooting that included a layout of the high school and the target list of teachers and students. He argued that Encinias was a danger to others and to himself and said that Encinias had planned to commit suicide after the shooting.
Lidyard added that putting Encinias on electronic monitoring outside of detention wouldn’t be enough because he’s raised by a single father who works full time and wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on him. The prosecutor suggested Encinias undergo a mental health evaluation to “see what we’re dealing with here.”
Encinias’ attorney, Mark Dixon, maintained Encinias wasn’t a danger to the community and added that this was his first time in a courtroom.
Judge Marlowe Sommer told Encinias that she believes he poses a risk to others and ruled that he remain in custody. Encinias has the right to have a detention hearing to modify his conditions of release. Encinias’ father didn’t want to comment after the hearing.
District Attorney Serna, in his statement Tuesday afternoon, said, “The safety of our students, educators and parents is our top priority, and that’s why we successfully petitioned the court to detain the individual accused of writing the shooting plan.”
“While this investigation remains ongoing, I want our families to know they are safe at our schools and in our community, and that we are working closely with Santa Fe Public Schools and Santa Fe Police regarding this matter.
The charges against Carter and Trujillo, who are also about 15 years old, were dropped “without prejudice,” meaning they can be refiled.