A custodian was arrested after Albuquerque Public Schools Police were called to Barcelona Elementary School in the South Valley on Thursday.
According to an APS PD complaint, officers detained Ray Lopez and six juveniles. Lopez told the officers he thought the kids were breaking into one of the portables, but he’s the one who ended up in trouble.
The kids told police they were trying to take a picture on campus when the Lopez spotted them and started chasing them.
That’s when they claim the custodian pointed a gun at one of them yelling, “I’m gonna shoot you! Do you wanna die tonight?”
“I’m very concerned to hear about that,” said Kitty Miller who lives near the school. She said she was shocked to hear the news.
“We’re a neighborhood that cares about our kids and I hope this gets resolved,” said Miller.
The age of the six kids and whether they attend Barcelona is unclear, but the report says one jumped on the school’s roof to get away from Lopez.
“Mr. Lopez has been advised of his rights, the criminal complaint has been read to him and he has been advised of the charges,” said the defense attorney representing Lopez in his first appearance.
Lopez was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and unlawful carrying of a weapon on school premises.
“Mr. Lopez you are not to possess firearms or dangerous weapons,” said Judge Maria Dominguez.
Lopez told police he went to his car to get his gun and only threatened to shoot one of the kids after seeing the minor reach toward his waistband, but the sheer nature of the incident concerns people in the area.
“It concerns me greatly. I’m a gun owner but I believe in regulation and background checks, and I do not believe school employees should be armed on school campuses,” said Miller.
Lopez told police he was concerned because the portables have been broken into before. An APS spokesperson said he has worked for the district since February 2017 and is now on leave.
In court Saturday, Lopez was released on his own recognizance. He does not have a prior criminal record in New Mexico.