Arrest made in threats case at Mesa's Las Sendas Elementary School - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Arrest made in threats case at Mesa's Las Sendas Elementary School

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Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 3:37 pm

A man who police say called 911 and lobbed threats against people attending a recent curriculum night at Mesa’s Las Sendas Elementary School has been arrested and is facing threatening and intimidating-related felony charges.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Ivan Krstic, 44, on suspicion of interfering with an educational institution, threatening and intimidating and domestic violence with disorderly conduct at a residence in east Mesa on Sept. 9. Krstic’s arrest came 10 days after he caused a stir in east Mesa’s Las Sendas neighborhood that triggered a lockdown at the school and a Mesa police SWAT team searching his family’s house.

According to police, Krstic said during the 911 call on Aug. 30 that he had a high-powered rifle, that he would shoot those in attendance at the school, and that he would burn his house down.

A mental health detainer also is outstanding on Krstic, requiring him to undergo a psychological evaluation, according to Detective Steve Berry, a Mesa police spokesman.

Police say Krstic, 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 day of the incident. The school went into lockdown for about an hour during the incident, according to Sgt. Anthony Landato, a Mesa police spokesman.

The threats raised concerns at the school and in the neighborhood because it initially was believed that Krstic was calling from the family’s home near the school. However, 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.

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 Krstic was not there.

Landato told the Tribune on Aug. 31 that the man has a history with police for a similar incident that caused concern for his mental state.

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 lock down the school. Later, the district contacted the families of students at the school via an automated voicemail message, Hollands said.

The school held a neighborhood meeting to address concerns in the neighborhood about two weeks ago.

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