UPDATE: 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 the education system.
BELEN—A Belen High School sophomore is in police custody and is currently being questioned by Belen police detectives for allegedly making a threat to the high school on social media.
Belen Police Chief Scott Conner said 16-year-old Jonathan Flores has admitted to creating the post, but said he didn’t mean any harm.
“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.”
Conner said Flores will be arrested and charged, and detectives are currently working with the district attorney’s office to determine what charges will be filed.
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 made the call to place the high school on a two-hour delay on Thursday morning so law enforcement could search the campus.
The police chief said the department’s school resource officer, school security personnel, New Mexico State Police and Valencia County Sheriff’s deputies searched the BHS campus early Thursday morning, and nothing was found out of place.
BPD detectives immediately contacted Snapchat through the social media’s law enforcement hotline to help locate the person who posted the threat.
Conner said when Snapchat gave detectives the user’s IP address, they then contacted the cellphone provider, which also has a similar protocol when it comes to active threats. The provider then was able to give investigators the user’s name and address.
“We were able to track down the 16-year-old juvenile and went to the student’s house in Belen,” the police chief said. “We have interviewed his mother, and she is cooperating with the investigation.
“When detectives asked if he knew why they were there, he said he did not,” Conner said. “So he initially made a denial.”
Conner also said detectives do have possession of the phone in which the threat originated, and a search warrant is being drafted to search the student’s house.
The chief did say Flores hasn’t been subject to disciplinary action at the school but has had truancy issues.
Belen police have also been working with the Los Lunas Police Department regarding another threat made via Snapchat to Los Lunas High School on Wednesday.
“We are working together in an attempt to bring that threat to a resolution,” Conner said.
Los Lunas Police are also working to identify the source of another threat of violence via Snapchat on Wednesday, 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.”
“We are working closely with the Los Lunas Schools Administration and Los Lunas Schools Police to ensure the safety of all students,” LLPD wrote on a social media post Thursday morning. “We will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our children!
“We take these threats very seriously and ask that anyone that may have any information regarding the source of these threats to please contact us. We are currently following up on leads.”
Los Lunas Superintendent Dana Sanders said in a press release that these types of messages have been circulating in numerous schools throughout the state, following the tragedy in Florida, in which 17 students, teachers and staff were shot and killed.
“The Los Lunas Schools are committed to keeping our children and staff safe every day. We have strong security measures in place at each and every one of our schools,” Sanders said. “The Los Lunas Schools takes all threats seriously, and we are diligently working with local law enforcement agencies, to find the person or persons responsible.
We do not take threats against our schools or our students’ safety lightly, and always investigate any threat made to them.”
Anyone who has any information regarding the threat at Los Lunas High School is encouraged to call the Los Lunas Police Department at 865-9130, or the Los Lunas Schools Director of Safety and Security, Desi Garcia, at 866-8282.