A felony threat charge was filed today against an 18-year-old Palm Springs man who allegedly used a friend's Facebook account to joke he would kill people at Palm Springs High School.
David Guadalupe Torres was charged with one count of making criminal threats and is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 13 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. He is free on a $75,000 bond.
Torres was arrested about 1:40 a.m. on Dec. 18, a few hours after the parents of two students reported the Facebook posting.
Torres, who is not a student at the school, allegedly wrote "im going 2 kill every 1 at pshs 2morow so stay home I got a gun" on a friend's Facebook page as a joke, while the friend was away from the computer the afternoon of Dec. 17, according to Palm Springs police Sgt. Mike Kovaleff.
Torres had been playing video games at home with the 15-year-old friend, who is a sophomore at Palm Springs High School. The friend logged into his Facebook account on Torres' computer and didn't log out when he left the room, the sergeant said.
The friend's sister told her sibling about the post. The friend confronted Torres, who allegedly said he wrote it as a joke. The friend deleted the post, Kovaleff said.
Torres' friend was detained, questioned and released to his guardians after it was determined he was not "criminally liable," Kovaleff said.
Police searched Torres' and his friend's homes and didn't find any weapons. Two computers and a cellphone were seized, Kovaleff said.
He said police found no evidence "to link Torres or his 15-year-old friend to actually carrying out the threat, but will handle any incident of this type with a zero-tolerance policy due to the serious nature of the threat."
Police Chief Al Franz said: "We take these matters very seriously."
"One of the most critical responsibilities of law enforcement is to ensure that our children and their parents feel safe when children are attending school," he said in a statement last week.
"That feeling of safety was recently shattered in America, as a result of the tragic events that occurred last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"It is now our responsibility to resuscitate that feeling of safety. We will protect our children and their schools in a manner that ensures that they are safe and that the learning environment is protected."
A judge granted the police department's request to increase Torres' bail from $5,000 to $75,000, Kovaleff said. He was booked at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, and posted a bond on Dec. 20, according to jail and court records.
Torres could get up to three years in prison if convicted, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
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