PSJA student facing terroristic threat charges

SAN JUAN — A student was arrested Thursday evening and is facing terroristic threat charges following a social media post in which he stated his intention to harm students at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School.

Jose Castro-Lopez, 17, was charged Friday afternoon and is currently being held under a $250,000 bond. Castro was arrested Thursday evening, said San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez, and admitted to be the author of a post on Facebook stating he was planning to “do something that will take many times,” and warning readers not to “be surprised when next week when I shoot it up.”

PSJA school district officials worked with the San Juan Police Department to investigate the threat which was made Thursday morning using what turned out to be a fake social media account.

“San Juan PD takes all threats serious and a thorough investigation will be conducted on all reported threats,” Gonzalez said in a news release sent after the arrest Friday. “Those that choose to (make) threats will be identified and arrested. We prioritize the safety of our students and work in partnership with school district officials in keeping our students safe.”

In an interview, Gonzalez said the fact that the Facebook account was fake and the language of the post indicates to him that there was a dangerous thought process involved and not just a practical joke as some might be inclined to believe.

“We very carefully dissect the intent of the individual,” he said. “In this case the individual went out of his way to create a fake Facebook account. He was very meticulous on what he wanted to do. … He was very forward on what he put on that Facebook post and to us that was alarming.”

PSJA school district will press charges against Castro-Lopez, according to a statement sent by spokeswoman Arianna Vasquez, and if released from custody, he will be sent to a disciplinary facility and not allowed to return to a PSJA campus.

“This is a serious matter and will be dealt (with) the harshest disciplinary consequences the law provides,” she said.

In an earlier statement Vasquez said security was also increased at the school out of precaution and expressed the need for parents to talk to their children about the importance to report threats to school officials and police.

“It is also important they understand the seriousness of making such threats,” she said in a written statement. “We are not taking any situation lightly, there are serious consequences for these actions.”