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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Teen cited in threat incident at APS

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The above image was distributed through social media Friday, leading to the two-hour delay of the Artesia Public Schools. The APD says it is believed the photograph was originally taken in Roswell. The threat was deemed to be non-credible in nature.

An Artesia teen has been cited in connection with Friday’s threat incident in the Artesia Public Schools.

The Artesia Police Department says it initially learned of the threat early Friday morning, when a School Resource Officer made contact with several students who had distributed a photograph through social media apps. The photograph, included at right, shows what appears to be a tiled bathroom wall with the message “I’m going to shoot up this school on 2/23/18 – Be redy.”

The photo was determined to have possibly originated at Goddard High School in Roswell rather than Artesia and had not been sent directly to the teen who began distributing it in Artesia; it was determined the youth had taken a screen shot of the photo and begun sending it to social media contacts.

An APS teacher saw one of the posts and brought it to the attention of the administration, who elected to delay the start of school Friday pending investigation of all APS schools to determine the message was not located within them.

Cmdr. Lindell Smith of the APD said the investigation ultimately led to the charging of the 13-year-old juvenile with New Mexico State Statute 30-22-12: unlawful use of a telephone to terrify, intimidate, harass, annoy or offend.

Smith said that charge is a misdemeanor upon first offense, and the teen was issued a non-traffic citation Friday through the Juvenile Probation Office and released to his or her guardian.

Many residents took to social media Monday after the citation was reported on the Daily Press website and Facebook page to express displeasure with what they felt to be a “lenient” punishment, pointing to threat-related arrests on stiffer charges made last week in cities such as Belen and Kirtland.

In those cases, however, the students in question directly issued the threats; the Artesia teen did not write the message nor claim to, but rather distributed a photo and created the implication it originated in Artesia.

As per the juvenile’s identity, Smith said the names of youth up to age 14 are subject to withholding from the public record under the department’s Administrative Policy and New Mexico State Statute.

“When working with these ideas and problems that have been presenting themselves lately, as well as when charging crimes, we try to find an appropriate balance between things like the letter and the color of the law, as well as charging appropriate crimes and getting people into the criminal justice system, which may provide the help they need,” Smith said today. “This can include help for children, young adults, and parents.”

 

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