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Students returned to East High after former student’s arrest

February 26, 2018 05:49 PM

Monday was the first day back to school at East High following the arrest of a 21-year-old former student accused of threatening to shoot teachers and students.  

Investigators said that Abigail Hernandez created a Facebook account under the name of “Martin Doll” and posted, “I’m coming tomorrow morning” and “I’m going to shoot all of ya (expletives)” beneath a photo of teachers and students at East High.  

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Hernandez was arraigned on a criminal charge of making a terrorist threat.  Her family posted the $15,000 bail that was set at the time but then Hernandez was picked up by immigration agents and held at a detention center in Batavia over the weekend. 

In a statement, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, “On Feb. 21, ICE lodged an immigration detainer against Abigail Hernandez-Arellano, a citizen and national of Mexico, following her arrest by local authorities. Ms. Hernandez-Arellano does not have lawful status in the U.S. and has been placed in removal proceedings. ICE has had no prior contact with this individual. An immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review will determine whether she has a legal basis to remain in the United States.”

On Monday, Hernandez appeared in Rochester City Court for a preliminary hearing.  Since she had posted bail, the Monroe County District Attorney’s office waived that hearing but Hernandez’s attorney asked the city court judge to re-set bail. He agreed, setting a new bail of $100 that Hernandez’s family will purposely not pay.

“I asked for that amount to be set so that she could remain in the Monroe County jail so that she and I could discuss her case. It's not uncommon to ask for something like that,” explains defense attorney Emily Rosmus.

Abigail Hernandez’s family and friends tell News10NBC that she has mental health issues and likely doesn’t grasp the seriousness of the charge against her.  

Jose, an 11th grader at East High said, “I actually went to Edison with her, she was a 12th grader and I knew as soon as I seen her, I knew she was kind of mentally slow.  When she made that threat, I really think she wasn't going to go through with it.”

But Rochester Police said that Hernandez made the threat and had access to a shot gun at home.  News10NBC ask prosecutors if they had done any research into Hernandez’s mental health or whether a mental health exam would be ordered, 

“I'm not privy to her medical status,” said Assistant District Attorney Greg Colavecchia. “So that'll be a request made by the defense attorney, if they feel it's appropriate. But it's out of my hands.”

News10NBC spoke with students returning to class on Monday about the threat.

“It was shocking to me that someone would put a threat out on our school,” said Narzhay, a 10th grader.  

Many students and a handful of parents say they didn’t know anything about the threat until they saw classmates talking about it on social media.

“Usually you get a robo-call from the school or something like that. We didn't get any of that.  We had to hear about it on social media and that's kind of weird we go to this school, we should know,” said 11th grader, Amika.  

News10NBC spoke with East High Principal Dr. Shaun Nelms. 

Jennifer Lewke: “Can you walk us through the steps you took as soon as you saw this threat to the school?” 

Dr. Nelms:  “Yea, so we have a system in place for monitoring our Facebook page or any social media outlets…We met with law enforcement on Thursday evening and throughout the entire evening and by Friday morning they had located the address and had assured us that the school would be safe to open up and continue that day so we did.”

Jennifer Lewke: “There has been some criticism from parents who said, we didn't hear from East High, we didn't know anything about this threat until many days later, why is that?”  

Dr. Nelms: “I'm not certain, we actually, parents received a robo-call on Friday afternoon and that was the day in which we had school.  Several parents we saw on the news made that statement and we reached out to them personally to make sure their phone information was accurate.”

Jennifer Lewke: “Do you have any concerns that it took 5 days for that student to be arrested?”

Dr. Nelms: “I don’t because it’s an on-going investigation and I knew Friday morning that RPD had id’d the home and I trust their process.”  

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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