HOUSTON – A 21-year-old student at Houston Community College has been arrested in connection with a shooting threat at the school last weekend.
Luis Antonio Rivera faces a felony charge for allegedly making a terrorist threat, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
A Harris County judge set Rivera’s bond Friday at $20,000, although prosecutors requested a $50,000 bond. Rivera’s public defender requested a $2,500 bond, arguing that Rivera made shooting threats against the midtown campus because of a mental disability, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Rivera is accused of using a fake name to make an online threat about causing casualties at the central campus of Houston Community College. HCC shut down the campus last Monday and Tuesday while the threat was investigated. Rivera was charged Thursday.
The district attorney’s office alleged that Rivera, using the name Elijah Eli Saltibanez, posted the following message on Facebook, claiming that he would “attack and shoot everyone and kill everyone in hcc Central campus in May 7 2018 I will kill everyone including students and teachers are gonna die and also I will kill the hcc police department.”
Other threats were also allegedly made against President Donald J. Trump and local school districts, the DA’s office said. The FBI was involved in the investigation.
Rivera has been diagnosed as autistic, which should be taken into consideration while setting bond, his lawyer argued.
The threat prompted HCC officials to close the central campus at 3100 Holman Street for two days during a busy week that included final exams and graduation. Tests for about 6,000 students had to be rescheduled.
The HCC post is part of a surge in threats made toward schools around the nation since the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 students and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, according to the Educator’s School Safety Network, which tracks shooting threats.
Such threats surged by 300 percent in the month after the Parkland shooting. More than 45 percent of those threats came from social media, the network reported.
“Houston Community College remains vigilant and responds thoroughly whenever any reports of a concerning nature are received and, as always, we will be proactive in the safety of our campuses,” school officials said. “We want to thank the many agencies that were involved in responding to this threat and remind everyone if you see something, say something.”