To understand how a seemingly ordinary citizen is capable of communicating a terroristic threat, one must first understand the actual meaning of the term.
When we hear of a terroristic threat, our thoughts turn to images of a terrorist from a foreign country making threats against our safety and well-being. It’s related, albeit the person making the threat is domestic and usually local.
The Texas Penal Code defines “terroristic threat” in part as threatening to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to place any person in fear of imminent, serious bodily injury.
You see, almost anyone is capable of committing this crime by communicating a threat in person, by telephone or through social media. I say “almost anyone,” because mature, responsible, well-adjusted people do not communicate threats merely to elicit a reaction.
Even if a communicated threat is not carried out, the reaction of victims and the resulting response by police and other emergency workers takes an expensive toll.
A Cove High School student was arrested Oct. 1 after police said he made serious threats against fellow students.
Jordan Tyler Nelson, 18, was arraigned Oct. 2 by Justice of the Peace Bill Price on a charge of terroristic threat.
According to an arrest affidavit, Cove police were informed about the threat by the Bell County Communication Center, which was made aware of the threat Oct. 1. In the affidavit, the communications center further advised the threat was made via Facebook by Nelson, in which he referenced killing people at his school.
According to the affidavit, Bell County Sheriff’s Department deputies were dispatched to Nelson’s address in Burnet County while Cove officers went to the school in search of Nelson. The affidavit stated CCHS was placed on lockdown.
According to police, upon arrival at Nelson’s address, Nelson gave officers access to his cellphone but no posts were found.
Nelson was taken to the Copperas Cove Police Department for an interview, during which police were able to download the original Facebook post.
According to the affidavit, the post read: “Too many times, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve looked around at school and just wonted (sic) to kill everyone I see ... is that dark? Lol.”
Yes, Jordan, it’s dark. It’s also dumb. In light of all the school shooting incidents occurring in the past few years, any mention of harming anyone at school not only raises red flags, but prompts school officials and law enforcement to react with all due haste.
Oh, by the way everyone, Facebook posts are public regardless if the post is placed on a personal Facebook page. In reality, anything uploaded to the Internet is potentially public. A word to the wise is usually sufficient.
According to police Sgt. Martin Ruiz, CCPD spokesman, Nelson may not have understood the true nature of his social media post. While he may not have intended to bring his threat to fruition or realized the consequences of his media post, it was serious and will be addressed by the appropriate judiciary.
Nelson was booked into the Coryell County Jail on Oct. 2 on a $10,000 bond.
Thirteen thefts/burglaries were reported to police this week. Experience tells me that many more have yet to be discovered or go unreported.
- There are thieves among us who will continue to victimize the unwary or careless. There should be a reminder in each of our shirt pockets that reads; “Take it, hide it, lock it.”
- With regard to vehicles, this simply means to take valuables with you, conceal anything of value and lock your vehicle when unattended.
- A flower pot valued at $40 was reported stolen Oct. 3 in the 2200 block of Vernice Drive.
- A firearm valued at $80 was reported stolen Oct. 3 in the 500 block of East Lincoln Avenue. The value of this item is inconsequential when one considers the possible uses for an illicit firearm untraceable to the thief.
- A wallet and contents valued at $93 was reported stolen Oct. 2 in the 1200 block of Courtney Lane. Take it, hide it, lock it!
- Clothing valued at $250 was reported stolen Oct. 2 in the 200 block of Josie Circle.
- Merchandise valued at $83 was reported stolen from a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
- A bicycle valued at $200 was reported stolen Oct. 2 in the 700 block of Sunny Avenue.
- Military gear, electronics and clothing valued at more than $14,500 was reported stolen from a residence Sept. 29 in the 300 block of Northern Dove Lane. This is a felony burglary of a habitation.
- Tools were reported stolen from a residence Sept. 29 in the 3400 block of Dalton Street. This is another felony burglary of a habitation.
- A theft of groceries valued at $372 was reported Oct. 3 in the 2900 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190. This business, and others in the area, have active video surveillance and on-site loss prevention officers whose job it is to catch and prosecute thieves.
- A lawnmower valued at $120 was reported stolen Oct. 3 in the 300 block of Second Street.
- A shoplifting theft was reported Oct. 3 from a retailer in the 2900 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190. Alcohol valued at $57 was reported stolen.
- A theft of a wallet and contents valued at $709 was reported Oct. 3 at a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190. These items were stolen from a customer.
- A theft of alcohol was reported from a retailer Oct. 2 in the 2900 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
Three assaults were reported to police this week. This number reflects a welcome decrease in this category of crime. One of these assaults involved family violence.
- An assault by contact/family violence was reported Sept. 29 in the 300 block of Constitution Drive.
- An assault by contact was reported Sept. 29 in the 2200 block of Farm-to-Market Road 3046.
- Continuous violence against family was reported Oct. 2 in the 200 block of Wagon Train Circle. The courts will take a special interest in the “continuous” aspect of this case.
- Continuous sexual abuse of children was reported Oct. 2 in the 300 block of East Avenue E. We will closely follow this reported incident as it unfolds.
- Criminal mischief was reported Oct. 2 in the 300 block of Judy Lane. Interior and a window were damaged. Damage was estimated at $550.
- Criminal mischief with damage to a window and screen valued at $125 was reported Oct. 2 in the 900 block of Edwards Street.
- Criminal mischief with damage to tools and other items valued at $339 was reported Oct. 2 in the 900 block of Laurie Lane.
- Criminal mischief was reported Oct. 2 in the 2500 block of Folsum Court. Windows were damaged with a value of $2,000.
- Criminal trespassing was reported Oct. 2 in the 400 block of south 25th Street.
- Disorderly conduct/public affray was reported Oct. 2 in the 300 block of Sunset Lane.
- Forgery of a government document was reported Oct. 2 in the 1300 block of Georgetown Road.
- Forgery of a government document money/securities was reported Sept. 29 in the 300 block of North First Street.
- Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Oct. 2 in the 2200 block of Isabelle Drive.
John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.