Aug 12, 2019
In March 2017, an administrator at Pima Community College District (Arizona) confronted a student over inappropriate comments he reportedly had made to other students in the campus library. The student was placed on a behavior contract and probation for 30 days, but during that time, the inappropriate comments—directed at staff—continued. The administrator requested a second meeting, but the student refused. He launched a stream of emails and voice mails threatening the administrator. He also sent a letter to the Tucson Police Department (TPD) threatening the campus administrator. TPD notified the administrator and recommended that she obtain an emergency protection order, which she did. The college also applied for and was granted an injunction against the student.
In August 2018, in response to continuing threats being made by the now-former student, he was taken into custody for an emergency 72-hour mental health evaluation. While being taken into custody, law enforcement officers seized a firearm, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and specialized ammunition designed for increased damage.
In November 2018, because the threats continued, TPD attempted to obtain another court hold for a mental health evaluation, but it was not granted. TPD then obtained an arrest warrant charging the former student with stalking police officers. During the service of this warrant, the former student shot and killed a deputy US marshal.
Based on the facts, in this case, Chief of Police Christopher N. Albers, MOL, Pima Community College District, stated his belief that there is a high probability the former student would have harmed the administrator and others at the college were it not for the intervention of law enforcement.
This case and the lessons learned from it are contained in the National Averted School Violence (ASV) Database, which is administered by the National Police Foundation with funding from the US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). Recently, the COPS Office made a grant award to IACLEA to expand the ASV Database to include cases from colleges and universities, in addition to K–12 schools.
If you are aware of an averted attack at a college or university, you can enter the case anonymously in the ASV Database at www.avertedschoolviolence.org. If you would like assistance entering the case, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campus public safety officials are also encouraged to register as ASV Database users on the same website. This will provide full access to the cases in the database, which may be useful as you prepare presentations on targeted violence prevention for your community.