Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Vigilante parent arrested for conducting “terror drill” at Celina Elementary
He's been charged with a third-degree felony, with a bond set at $75,000.
CELINA A Celina parent was arrested on January 9 for initiating his own personal terrorist drill at Celina Elementary School. He has been charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, with a bond set at $75,000.
"We had a parent who decided to be a rogue and test out our security system," said Donny O'Dell, Celina ISD superintendent.
The Celina Police Department responded to a call from the school on the morning of January 9 after receiving information about a suspicious circumstance. According to a press release from the CPD, school staff stated that 44-year-old Ron Miller, father of a CES student, entered the school office and conducted his own drill to test the school's response to an active shooter situation.
Although Miller did not display a weapon, staff felt his statements and actions were aggressive and created panic among the staff involved in the situation. O'Dell said 99 percent of the people in the building, including staff, teachers, and students, did not know anything had happened. The school district did not go on lockdown and did not notify parents of the incident until Thursday, January 10.
"We had an ongoing investigation with the police department," O'Dell said. "We did not want to do anything to jeopardize that investigation. We have taken a huge black eye because of that, but at that particular time it seemed like the best thing to do."
Everyone was safe and secure, he added. The district sent out a letter to parents on Friday and posted it online.
"Our first and foremost priority for us is that our kiddos, faculty, and staff are safe," O'Dell said.
O'Dell said Miller approached one of the school's greeters, who help students get out of their cars as they're dropped off, and said he was a gunman and that "his target was in the building and he was going into the building, and [the greeter] wasn't going to stop him."
"The thing of it is, this was somebody they all knew and that he was up there every day picking up his kiddo," O'Dell said.
O'Dell said Miller took the greeter by surprise but by that time, Miller had reached the office.
"He told two ladies inside that he was a shooter, and that 'you were dead and you were dead,'" O'Dell said.
Miller asked to speak with Starla Martin, CES principal, but she was in a meeting so he left, O'Dell said. School staff notified police, who immediately responded.
According to Miller's Facebook page, he has reposted several pro-gun images including a photo of a woman lifting up her shirt to reveal her torso with a gun strapped to her stating "Properly dressed teacher."
Miller also shared on his Facebook page a photo with a link leading to an article about a similar situation that occurred at a high school in El Paso last May. According to the KFOX 14 article, a SWAT team initiated a terrorist simulation that only the school district staff knew about without informing teachers, parents and students of the drill.
In a comment on the article left by ElPasoDevilDog, the parent of a 16-year-old student involved in the simulation gave an account of the student's experience. The student recounted, "we were all trying not to cry and make noise because we knew they were now in our class and then the closet door swung open and a man in a ski mask holding a real gun pointed it a [sic] me. We screamed and he said 'Your [sic] dead' and left."
O'Dell said each school in the district does have drills for fire, tornado, and shooter situations.
"That particular drill is there," O'Dell said. "We have drilled on it, but what happened is the way he was able to get into the building was [that] everyone knew and trusted [him]."
Miller was taken into custody by Celina police at 9:54 p.m. on January 9 and was booked into the Collin County Jail.
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