Woman arrested, accused of threatening a shooting at East High School

February 23, 2018 11:48 PM

Rochester police arrested a woman who threatened a shooting attack at Rochester’s East High School, city officials said Friday.

Police said Abigail Hernandez, 21, was taken into custody on Tuesday following threats posted on the East High Facebook page last week.

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“I’m horrified about that,” said Jariza Nadal, whose 13-year-old son attended the school.  "I would want to see more action, meetings, what they're going to put in place so another Florida incident or Columbine or anything won't happen here."  

According to police, on February 15, Hernandez posted a message on East High’s Facebook page expressing sympathy for the shooter behind the rampage that killed 17 people in Parkland High School in Florida.       

 “The threat that was used was ‘I'm coming tomorrow morning and I'm going to shoot all of you [expletive],'” explained LaRon Singletary, Rochester Deputy Police Chief.

Officials said the threat was posted under a false name and it took time to find its source but that, once Hernandez was identified, police found a shotgun in her home and took her into custody.  The Monroe County District Attorney’s office said she was arraigned Thursday.

She was charged with making terroristic threats, a felony.

Further, Rochester Deputy Mayor Cedric Alexander explained, Hernandez is in the country illegally and has been under the auspices of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.   Her arrest brought the attention of ICE immigration agents who then took her into their custody, Alexander said.

While five days passed between the time of the threatening posts and Hernandez’s arrest, Singletary said police acted immediately and increased security at East High school, adding personnel at the school.  On Friday evening, Superintendent Shaun Nelms send out a message to the school’s families.  In it he thanked police.  “Their presence on campus last week and their guidance on how to best keep staff and students safe during this efficient, successful police investigation, reiterates their ongoing support.” 

As the response to the Parkland shooting has drawn increasing criticism for law enforcement’s handling of the case both before and after the shooting started, Alexander said the handling of this incident was a case of all parties working properly.
‘What this is, is an example of what is supposed to happen when we're working together,” he said.  “What's really important is that we able to get ahead of the threat. This is not what we want to do after something occurs. We want to get ahead of it."   


Charles Molineaux

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