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Father’s Attempt to Test School’s Safety, Backfires

January 19, 2013

Fred Thiagarajah

A North Texas resident has been charged with making “terroristic threats” at CelinaElementary School.  Last week Ron Miller, 44, entered his child’s elementary school and claimed that he was a gunman in order to test the school’s safety response.  According to Celina school district Superintendent Donny O’dell, an unarmed Mr. Miller approached one of the greeters at the school and said, “I am a gunman.  My target is inside of the building.  I’m going in the building.  You stop me.”  O’Dell further added to a WFAA a local news station, “They recognized, at that point, that he did not have a weapon and they were able to go ahead and tell him to leave.”

Ironically, the school’s principal chose not to place a 911 call to authorities.  Instead he dialed a non-emergency number, since Miller, a paramedic, was immediately recognized by school officials as a parent and school volunteer.  According to O’Dell, after Miller left there was no lockdown on the school since there was no threat to the children’s safety.  O’Dell went on to admit that while there was no real threat, they did find some areas that need to improve in the school’s response to an actual threat.  For example, the greeter lacked a radio and had no means of contacting police if a real gunman was seeking to attack the school.  “We found some glitches…some things we need to work on.” O’Dell continued, “of course, none of this ever takes place when you expect it, so human response to certain situations is not always perfect because we’re not perfect.”

Mixed feelings have been reported by parents about the incident, especially in the wake of the recent tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut this past December.  In the interim, Miller the paramedic, parent, and school volunteer who is being charged with making terrorists threats—a third-degree-felony—was released on $75,000 bail.

For the full story and video click here.

In California, the crime of deadly threats (previously known as terrorist threats), in violation of Penal Code section 422, would have been applicable.   Penal Code section 422(a) states: “Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will resul tin the death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific  intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished  in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.”

To learn more about the crime of deadly threats or criminal threats, as defined by Penal Code section 422, visit our website.


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