Portage teen charged with making threats
By Erin Guerra Post-Tribune correspondent December 20, 2012 10:45AM
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:25AM
PORTAGE — A former Portage High School student was arrested Wednesday night after reportedly making threatening statements on Facebook. His alleged threats and similar rumors circulating on social media put area schools on even higher alert than they have been since last week’s shootings in Connecticut.
And in Valparaiso on Thursday, Porter County detectives arrested a 16-year-old student for intimidation and resisting law enforcement for threats he made on Facebook involving the lockdown at other area schools.
According to Portage police, Brian Aldaz, 18, posted the following statement on Facebook earlier on Wednesday: “whens the world suppose to end I can’t (redacted) wait >:} before I go imam have the gratitude off killing a few people n then kill some judges and cops:].”
A parent brought the post to the school resource officer’s attention, and after a lengthy discussion, deputy prosecutor Adam Burroughs said there was probable cause to arrest Aldaz for felony intimidation.
Six Portage police officers responded about 4:25 p.m. to the home, in the 2200 block of Iris, where Aldaz lives with his parents. The officers could see a young man peeking around the window coverings, but he would not open the door. Police contacted Aldaz’s father, who was at work. He cooperated by telling police he was aware of no weapons in the house, and he called Aldaz and told him to let officers in the house. When the 18-year-old complied, however, and police told him he was under arrest, he ran up the stairs and attempted to barricade himself in a bedroom. Police followed him and arrested Aldaz, who also was charged with misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Officers confiscated a laptop computer from a bathroom adjacent to the bedroom where Aldaz was taken into custody.
Later, Aldaz’s mother, who also was at work at the time of his arrest, told police the teen is in need of medication but refuses to take it. She said he has other mental health issues that have not yet been diagnosed and that may be the cause of his behavior, according to the police report.
Aldaz had been arrested Dec. 4 for conversion and released from jail Dec. 14, according to the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.
On Thursday, a 16-year-old junior at Valparaiso High School was arrested by Porter County Sheriff’s Department detectives.
Police were investigating a report of a threat that was communicated over Facebook involving a lockdown that was going to occur at another local high school. The boy posted, “Your all going to die!” and “DEATH!” on other person’s page.
The boy’s posts could be read by anyone in the area, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release, and caused fear in students that someone was going to come to the school and kill them. The boy fought with detectives when they made contact with him at the Juvenile Probation Office. He was taken into custody and was being held at the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center.
On Wednesday night, parents of Union Township School Corp. students received an email from Superintendent John Hunter informing them a rumor has been circulating around Chesterton High School that an unknown student has planned some form of attack there for Friday, and that similar actions have been encouraged at Portage and Wheeler high schools. All Union Township schools were set to be open but were operating on lockdown Thursday and Friday.
Chesterton High School’s website also commented on the rumors of a planned attack during a pep rally on Friday.
“The safety of our students is our number one priority; however, school and law enforcement officials will continue to investigate this unsubstantiated rumor. There is also an increased presence of law enforcement in and around our schools.” said Dirk Baer, superintendent of Duneland Community Schools, in the notice. “We always value the input we receive from our students, staff members and parents regarding matters that may affect the safety of our students.”
Calls to all three schools about whether attendance was down because of the rumors were referred to voice mail; messages were not immediately returned.