Teen arrested after alleged threats
A seventh-grade student at Belen Middle School was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly threatened to "shoot up" fellow students during class.
The school's resource officer, Mike Esquibel, said the student, Randy Crowston-Gallegos, 13, told another student he planned to "shoot up" the classroom during the morning hours.
Esquibel said the student confirmed that he planned to carry out the violent act after being questioned by a student who had heard rumors from other students. The student who questioned Crowston-Gallegos excused himself and got sick in the bathroom before calling his parents. Shortly after, his parents called school officials.
Crowston-Gallegos is charged with interfering with the educational process and released to his foster parents. The boy did not have any weapons on his person at the time of the incident.
By 9:40 a.m., school staff fielded a number of calls from concerned parents who wanted to find out what was going on at the school. A voicemail message telling parents about the situation was sent through SchoolReach, a notification system.
Belen Middle School Principal Sheila Armijo said Crowston-Gallegos was removed from campus as "a precautionary measure." The school was on lockdown for a period of about 20 minutes.
Wednesday's incident marks the third incident this school year where similar threats have stalled the educational process.
In December, a 16-year-old was charged after police say he wrote a message in a Belen High School restroom. He was released to his mother.
Esquibel found out about the incident after two girls at the school overheard the boy bragging about writing the message.
The message was discovered "right away" in the boy's bathroom in the 100 building. The message said, "On 12/18, I will shoot 12 kids! So (expletive) you all!"
When the student was identified, he was taken out of class and placed on suspension.
Four Belen Middle School students were arrested and charged with interfering with the educational process after making similar threats in October. Multiple witnesses gave similar accounts of the alleged threats by those students.