Man pleads not guilty in school threat case
FARMINGTON — The Bloomfield man arrested and charged in connection with a school shooting threat posted online last week which led to the evacuation of a Bloomfield school on Friday made his first appearance in court today.
John Williams, 20, appeared in Aztec Magistrate Court this afternoon on a petty misdemeanor count of interference with members of staff or the general public (interfering with educational process), according to a copy of the criminal complaint.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge during his arraignment, according to court records.
Williams' is accused of posting a comment in support of a threatening Facebook post a 17-year-old juvenile made on Thursday.
The juvenile's post stated "only 2 months into 2018 and already we got 29 school shootings. (Expletive) it my turn," according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Williams' alleged comment on the juvenile's Facebook post stated "Haha esketit (with a laughing smiley face)," according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states "esketit" is slang used by Williams and others for "let's do it."
The threat posted late Thursday night led Charlie Y. Brown Alternative School to be evacuated and cleared Friday morning due to the school's history with both suspects, according to a San Juan County Sheriff's Office press release.
During the investigation, authorities found images online which appear to show the man later identified as Williams with or showing off firearms. The juvenile has previously been expelled from the school.
Williams was previously removed from Charlie Y. Brown for truancy and has also been trespassed from school grounds, according to the Sheriff's Office press release.
Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln of the Sheriff's Office declined to identify the 17-year-old.
The juvenile, also charged with interfering with the educational process, had a detention hearing this morning, according to Lincoln.
Lincoln stated the last update he received was the juvenile was being held at the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center.
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jayme Harcrow told The Daily Times Friday night the FBI is pursuing charges against the juvenile.
Bloomfield School District officials were notified of the threat at 7 a.m. Friday and immediately diverted buses with Charlie Y. Brown students to Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield Superintendent Kim Mizell told the Daily Times Saturday.
Students walking to school were kept from entering school grounds by district officials and law enforcement and were later transported to Bloomfield High School.
After the suspects were arrested and the threat addressed, the school opened later that day.
Williams has two pending cases in district court which include two separate fourth-degree felony counts of distribution/possession with intent to distribute marijuana/synthetic cannabinoids, according to court records.
One of the cases is set for a one-day jury trial on April 4 in Aztec District Court.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at email@example.com.