Mesa police are considering charges against a man they say called 911 Thursday and made threats against people attending a curriculum night at Mesa’s Las Sendas Elementary School. According to police, the man said he had a high-powered rifle, that he would to shoot those in attendance and burn his house down.
Police say the man, a parent of students at the school at 3120 N. Red Mountain Road in east Mesa, is estranged from his wife and called 911 from a cell phone while at a casino in California at about 6:30 p.m. The school went into lockdown for about an hour during the incident, according to Sgt. Anthony Landato, a Mesa police spokesman.
The man’s name has not been released while Mesa police investigate.
It initially was believed that the man was calling from the family’s home near the school, but after police contacted his wife at the curriculum night where a number of school staff and parents were, she told police that he was not in the area.
However, as a precautionary measure, police swarmed the neighborhood with SWAT officers assisted by a police helicopter and searched the family’s home near the school, but cleared the residence after officers discovered that he was not there.
Landato told the Tribune on Friday that the man has a history with police and, following a recent incident, underwent some kind of mental evaluation.
It wasn’t known how many people were inside the school at the time of the lockdown, but Mesa Unified School District spokeswoman Helen Hollands said police had instructed the district to lockdown the school. Later, the district contacted the families of students at the school via an automated voicemail message.
Part of the message included: “Tonight, during our curriculum night, a neighborhood incident caused the Mesa Police Department to put our school on lockdown. Parents, staff and students remained in lockdown for approximately one hour while the police worked to resolve the nearby situation.”
Las Sendas Elementary serves slightly more than 800 students in kindergartern through the sixth grade, Hollands said.
The man possibly could be facing charges such as disorderly conduct, improper use of the 911 system, threatening and intimidating or disruption of a school system.
The investigation is ongoing, Landato added.
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