A Belen High School sophomore was arrested Thursday for making a threat against his high school on social media, one of 10 similar incidents around New Mexico this week and part of a nationwide trend following the mass killings at a Florida high school last week.
Belen Police Chief Scott Conner said Jonathan Flores, 16, of Belen, is charged with assault on school personnel, public nuisance, disturbing lawful assembly, disorderly conduct, unlawful use of a telephone and interference with an education system.
“Mr. Flores has admitted to creating a secondary Snapchat account,” Conner said. “He admitted to sharing it to himself and then sharing it with others. He told the detectives he had no intention of shooting up the school and that he does not own any weapons. He said he only did it to see what kind of response he would get from the school and law enforcement.”
The threat, in part, said “ATTENTION all bhs (sic) students prepare too (sic) see my wrath tomorrow hahaha you all (expletive) up. I’m going to be the next to go down in history you SCUMS (expletive) all bhs, I dare you to go to school tm (sic) I want to see how many people I can take with me.”
Belen police were made aware of the social media threat late Wednesday night and contacted school district officials, who decided to place the high school on a two-hour delay Thursday morning so law enforcement could search the campus. Nothing was found out of
BPD detectives contacted Snapchat and obtained the user’s IP address. They then contacted the cellphone provider, which provided the user’s name and address.
Belen police also worked with Los Lunas police, who were working to identify the source of a threat to Los Lunas High in which someone posted: “No one better go to los lunas high (sic) tomorrow or all you (expletive) are dead! If you do go better watch yourself see you soon.”
Los Lunas Superintendent Dana Sanders said in a news release that these types of messages have been circulating at numerous schools throughout the state, following the tragedy in Florida, in which 17 students, teachers and staff were shot and killed.
Similar incidents occurred in Albuquerque, Española, Farmington, Kirtland, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe this week.
Albuquerque police arrested Cibola High School freshman Chelsea Slaton on Wednesday night after police say she threatened a shooting at the school using Snapchat. She faces a misdemeanor charge of threatening a school, Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Patrick said Thursday.
Meanwhile, the office is also prosecuting three teens in connection with an incident at Albuquerque High School in which two current students and a former student were found with a rifle and two pistols, all loaded, in a vehicle on campus Tuesday.
Patrick said they believe Freddie Sedillo, 17, was driving the vehicle with passengers Josiah Montano, 17, a former AHS student, and Frederick Jimenez, 15.
In Rio Rancho, police sent extra officers to Rio Rancho High School on Wednesday morning after a threat was posted Tuesday night on Snapchat that read: “I am going to shoot Humanities building up Rio Rancho High first then Fine Arts School tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.”
Rio Rancho police Capt. Andrew Rodriguez said officers found “nothing out of the ordinary.”
In Santa Fe on Wednesday, Ortiz Middle School student Jesus Rodriguez, born in 2005, was charged with interference with public officials or the general public, use of a telephone to terrify, harass, threaten or intimidate a witness, threatening a witness and disorderly conduct.
A female student told principal Felicia Sena that she and another female student were talking to Rodriguez on the phone around midnight Monday when Rodriguez made a comment about wanting to shoot up the school, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Santa Fe Police Department.
Officers also spoke with a male student who said Rodriguez told him “that he was going to do it and that he was going to use an AR-15 and a Glock.”
“Jesus did not deny or admit in making the statement about wanting to shooting (sic) up the school,” according to the complaint.
In Las Cruces on Thursday, Las Cruces High School student Ernest Padilla, 18, was booked into jail on one count of unlawful carrying a deadly weapon on school premises.
Administrators discovered a photo of him on Snapchat with a rifle a day earlier. An accompanying message stated “Mexican school shooter” along with the abbreviations for “just kidding.”
Also Thursday, two Española Valley High School students were arrested for making a shooting threat against the school.
Maj. Randy Sanches with the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office said 17-year-old Alex Zammaron and 15-year-old Jacob Garcia were confronted by a school security guard about 8:45 a.m. after the guard allegedly overheard them say “let’s shoot it.” The boys then allegedly told the guard, “Just don’t come to school tomorrow.” No weapons were found in their lockers.
On Wednesday, a 17-year-old Kirtland Central High School student, Noah Ridgeley, was detained and accused of making a bomb threat against the school, according to San Juan County authorities.
A day earlier in Farmington, a 14-year-old unnamed female student faced charges for making a threat toward Tibbetts Middle School, according to a post on the Farmington Police Department’s Facebook page, the Daily Times reported.
Journal staff, Associated Press and the Daily Times contributed to this report.